Badgers one step closer to title, beat biggest rival
Notes: Division III undefeated teams continue to cruise
Elliot Olshansky, NCAA.com
As No. 1 Wisconsin celebrated a 3-1 win against No. 4 Minnesota on Saturday night at the Kohl Center in Madison, Badgers coach Mark Johnson probably had a good sense of what his father, legendary Wisconsin coach “Badger” Bob Johnson, was talking about when he spoke the immortal words, “It’s a great day for hockey.”
Not only did the top-ranked Badgers (18-2-2) beat their biggest rival, moving one step closer towards the WCHA regular-season title (they took a 16-point lead in the standings with six games left to play), but they did so in front of a crowd of 10,668 fans at the Kohl Center. That crowd – over 1,000 fans more than the best WCHA men’s crowd of the night (Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota) – set a record for women’s college hockey, and also raised $10,668 for the Second Harvest Food Bank, as the Becker Law Office donated a dollar for every fan in attendance.
There’s a chance the record might not last long – the upcoming Whalers Hockey Fest at 40,000-seat Rentschler Field in Hartford will feature a UConn doubleheader that includes Heather Linstad’s Huskies taking on Providence – but the impact of the game, both on and off the ice, is undeniable.
“The people of Madison really came out and supported what we were trying to do tonight,” Johnson told US College Hockey Online. “There are not many games, this being the first women’s college hockey game, to have over 10,000 people watch.”
And when the Badgers return for their final regular-season home series in two weeks, and again for the WCHA quarterfinals, they plan to have a lot of those 10,668 back.
“I challenge our fans to bring a similar crowd like this to every game,” Badger forward Hilary Knight told USCHO. “We really fed off their energy and we were really fortunate to have them.”
NEED TO KNOW
Division III’s two undefeated teams continue to cruise along, as No. 1 RIT and No. 2 Wisconsin-River Falls reign supreme atop the ECAC West and the NCHA, respectively. The Falcons were tied for just the second time this season on Saturday, as River Falls needed Kait Mason’s 5-on-3 power-play goal with 5:37 left in regulation to tie Adrian, but came back Sunday to get a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs, with Mason’s unassisted tally in the last minute of the second period proving the winner. The Tigers, meanwhile, were outright dominant on their weekend trip to Buffalo State, winning 4-1 on Friday and 4-0 on Saturday. Carley King made 14 saves for the shutout in Saturday’s game, while Katie Stack and Kourtney Kunichika had a goal apiece in each of the two games.
It was a good week for Harvard head coach Katey Stone. Stone, now in her 17th year behind the bench at the Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, was named the head coach for the 2011 U.S. Women’s National Team, with Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak and Northeastern assistant coach Hilary Witt as her assistants. Then, Stone and the Crimson enjoyed a big road weekend at a pair of ECAC Hockey and Ivy League rivals. Sophomore goaltender Laura Bellamy made 25 saves Friday in a 4-0 shutout of Brown, and Katharine Chute scored the game-winning goal and added a pair of assists on Saturday as Harvard defeated Yale, 5-3. The wins helped Harvard break into the USCHO.com Division I women’s poll this week, climbing in at No. 10. Currently second in ECAC Hockey behind No. 2 Cornell, the Crimson have a big weekend ahead. Harvard hosts sixth-place Princeton and fourth-place Quinnipiac on Friday and Saturday before facing Northeastern in the Beanpot on Tuesday.
Clarkson earned a pair of ECAC Hockey honors this week, as sophomore forward Danielle Skirrow was named the conference’s Player of the Week and freshman Erica Howe was named Goaltender of the Week. Skirrow had four points in a weekend sweep of Princeton and Quinnipiac, including two goals and an assist in the 3-2 win over the Bobcats, while Howe made 46 of 50 saves in the two wins…Bowdoin sophomore Kayte Holtz was named the NESCAC Player of the Week after an astonishing seven-goal weekend against visiting D-I independent Sacred Heart. Holtz scored four goals in a 6-2 win over the Pioneers on Saturday, then included the game-winning goal in her Sunday hat trick, bringing her D-III leading average to 1.17 goals per game….Boston University freshman Marie-Philip Poulin was named the Pure Hockey Player of the Month in Hockey East. Poulin, who ranks fourth nationally in scoring with 1.95 points per game, recorded 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) to lead the No. 3 Terriers to a 7-0-0 record in January….It was a rough weekend for the top two teams in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, as No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus lost and tied against St. Catherine, while the Tommies split their home-and-home series with St. Mary’s. The weekend results leave the two teams tied atop the MIAC standings heading down the home stretch of the regular season…Five Division I women’s players and three D-III women are among the 25 nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. Connecticut College’s Brigid O’Gorman, a 2011 finalist, is joined by Jackie Berglass of Williams and Kristin Faber of Wisconsin-Eau Claire amond the D-III nominees, with Niagara’s Jenni Bauer, Minnesota’s Alyssa Grogan, Yale’s Aleca Hughes, Wayne State’s Ciara Lee and Robert Morris’ Whitney Pappas nominated from Division I….Concordia-Wisconsin goaltender Lea Jondal was named the NCHA Player of the Week after backstopping the Falcons to a win and tie against No. 10 Wisconsin-Superior. Jondal surrendered just three goals on 65 shots in the two games, bringing the third-place Falcons within three points of the Yellow Jackets in the NCHA standings.