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Patrick Donnelly | | November 11, 2022

No. 7 Minnesota Duluth vs. St. Cloud State tops this weekend's women's college hockey games

U.S. Olympic women's hockey team's top college highlights

A battle between two WCHA and State of Hockey rivals leads this weekend's women's college hockey schedule.

Here's what you need to know, and how to keep up with the action:

No. 7 Minnesota Duluth vs. St. Cloud State

  • When: 4 p.m. ET Friday | 3 p.m. ET Saturday
  • Where: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • How to watch: B1G+ (subscription required)

These State of Hockey rivals come into this weekend's matchups on two different sides of the coin.

On one side, you have the Bulldogs, who have been a top-five team for most of this season, but have fallen off in recent weeks as they've lost three in a row and five of their last six.

Looking at the other side, you see the Huskies, who have won five straight games, taking down the No. 1 team in the nation (Minnesota) 4-1 on Tuesday. The Huskies got three votes in the most recent poll.

Duluth (7-5-0, 3-5-0 WCHA) has had a difficult schedule over the last several weeks with top-five matchups against powerhouses in Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In that span, they've averaged 2.33 goals per game and given up 4.75. On the year as a whole, they're averaging 2.8 goals per game, allowing 1.9. 

Most of the point production has largely come from fifth-year star Gabbie Hughes (3-12--15), while fifth-year defender Ashton Bell leads the team with six goals. Mannon McMahon is second with four tallies. In goal, Emma Soderberg has been solid with a .911 save percentage, 2.01 goals-against average and two shutouts. 

Meanwhile, the Huskies (7-6-0, 4-6-0 WCHA) have had a nice run, albeit against weaker opponents in St. Thomas and Bemidji State outside of Tuesday's upset over the Gophers. Against ranked teams in OSU, Wisconsin and Minnesota, SCSU has gone 1-6-0 with sweeps at the hands of each team. In the six losses, the Huskies averaged just 1.5 goals and surrendered 4.17. In this latest winning streak, they've had two shutouts and allowed just one goal in the other three contests. 

Jenniina Nylund (7-8--15) has been the go-to producer for St. Cloud, while Emma Gentry and Klára Hymlárová lead the team with eight goals each. In goal, both Jojo Chobak (.933 save percentage) and Sanni Ahola (.929) have been strong. The SCSU penalty kill has also been good with a 89.6 percent success rate.

UMD is looking to get on track in what is a big test for St. Cloud. 

No. 10 Providence vs. No. 14 UConn

  • When: 6 p.m. ET Friday | 3 p.m. ET Saturday
  • Where: Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum, Storrs, Conn. | Schneider Arena, Providence, R.I.
  • How to watch: ESPN+ (subscription required)

The race for second place in Hockey East is on as the Friars and Huskies look to try to gain ground on Northeastern and Vermont. 

Providence (9-2-1, 6-1-1 HEA) has been rolling this season, most recently sweeping BU after going 0-1-1 against Northeastern. Sara Hjalmarsson (1g, 2a) had a big weekend for the Friars, while Sandra Abstreiter stopped 49 of 52 shots in the series.

Hjalmarsson has been a force in now her fifth season with PC, putting up 14 points (5g, 9a) in 12 games. Freshman forward Reichen Kirchmair has stepped in nicely and leads the team with eight goals. Abstreiter has been strong as well, as is the norm in Providence typically, with a .944 save percentage, 1.40 GAA and four shutouts.

While PC's penalty kill has been very good, the power play is an area of concern, scoring on just 16.1 percent of opportunities. 

At the other end of the sheet is UConn (8-4-2, 4-4-2 HEA), who is on a three-game winning streak after stumbling (0-3-1) against Vermont. Last weekend's sweep of BC was all about the goaltender as Tia Chan turned aside 42 of 43 shots she faced. 

Like Abstreiter and the Friars, Chan has been the Huskies' rock with a .942 save percentage, 1.64 GAA and four shutouts, buoying a 93.7 percent penalty kill, which has been a huge lift to a team only scoring 2.1 goals per game. 

The Huskies lack the game-breaker that they've had in recent years, but senior Coryn Tormala has produced nicely this season, pacing the team with five goals and 11 points. 

This weekend's series could well come down to which goaltender blinks first.

No. 8 Northeastern vs. Boston College

  • When: 1:30 p.m. ET Friday | 2 p.m. ET Saturday
  • Where: Matthews Arena, Boston, Mass. | Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
  • How to watch: ESPN+ (subscription required)

Sticking in Hockey East, this weekend also features the going-away conference favorite in Northeastern as well as another outside challenger in BC. 

Don't let the eighth-place ranking fool you, the Huskies (10-1-1, 8-1-1) are still among the nation's best. NU has coming off a sweep of New Hampshire, expectedly dominating the Wildcats. They're averaging 4.5 goals per game, and allowing 0.9. They've given up more than one goal just twice, in a 2-2 tie with PC and last weekend's 8-2 win against UNH. 

Northeastern will be without one of the nation's top goal-scorers, Maureen Murphy (7-12--19), as she skates with Team USA at training camp for the Rivalry Series with Canada. That's not to say the Eagles still won't have their hands full as the Huskies bost of the deepest squads in the country, featuring the Katy Knoll (9g, 6a), Alina Müller (8g, 7a) and Chloe Aurard (7g, 7a). 

Gwyneth Phillips has effortlessly followed in place of program great Aerin Frankel, posting a .959 save percentage, 0.84 GAA and three shutouts, one of the back bones of a penalty kill with a 94.6 percent success rate.

Meanwhile, the Eagles (6-5-1, 5-3-0 HEA) have had some inconsistencies to start the year, coming off a sweep at the hands of UConn that saw the offense sputter after a split with Vermont. Against teams currently in the polls — Quinnipiac, Penn State, UVM and UConn — BC is 1-5-1.

The Eagles haven't been spectacular on either side of the puck, scoring only 2.6 goals per game and allowing a respectable 2.2. Outside of stars like Hannah Bilka (8-10--18) and Abby Newhook (4-9--13), BC has struggled for production, partly because of the power play working at only 11.5 percent. In goal, Abigail Levy has been the backbone with a .946 save percentage, 1.88 GAA and two shutouts. 

BC (six votes in the latest USCHO poll) is fighting an uphill battle to get back into the rankings. At the same time, with how unforgiving the polls have been to Northeastern, the Huskies can't afford to overlook the Eagles.

Also on the radar: No. 4 Colgate at Harvard (receiving votes) at 6 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN+; No. 9 Cornell at (RV) Harvard at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN+; and No. 11 Clarkson at (RV) St. Lawrence (Clarkson won 5-4 in OT Thursday) at 2 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN+.

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