January 5, 2012

Women's Journal: Northeastern begins second half on top

By Scott Sudikoff

2012 is upon us and it is time for Hockey East and ECAC Hockey teams to get back into the swing of the things. Before we can fully focus on what is to come, we need to take a quick look back at the first few months of the season.

Hockey East

Casey Pickett of Northeastern (photo: Jim Pierce/Northeastern)

Casey Pickett of Northeastern (photo: Jim Pierce/Northeastern)

At the top of the standings, and a surprise to some, is Northeastern at 8-2-1 (13-4-1 overall). The Huskies were tabbed as No. 7 team in New England in our preseason power ratings, but since the start of the season, they have routinely been in the top three.

Northeastern is led by outstanding senior goalie Florence Schelling and her 1.64 goals-against average. Freshman Kendall Coyne leads Hockey East with 14 goals and 26 points.

The toughest challenge for the Huskies has been Boston College (13-5-1, 7-2-1 WHEA). The Eagles have won both contests from Northeastern and sit two points behind in the standings. BC has been No. 1 in our power ratings every week after being No. 4 in the preseason rankings.

Thirteen wins before the holiday break is a school record for the Eagles as Corinne Boyles has been strong in net, amassing a 2.01 GAA, second-best to Schelling.

Providence and Boston University may be the two surprise disappointments thus far. The Friars only won one of their first eight contests so their overall record is lacking, though they have stepped up in league play to currently be third in the standings.

The Terriers were the No. 1-ranked team in our preseason rankings but, due in part to a very tough schedule, they have not been able to find their stride. BU has played 10 games against teams ranked in the USCHO.com top 10 and are just 2-8 in those contests.

Maine (10-7-5, 4-5-1 WHEA), Connecticut (3-13-4, 2-5-2 WHEA), Vermont (3-11-6, 2-6-2 WHEA) and New Hampshire (6-12-3, 0-6-2 WHEA) round out the bottom of the Hockey East ledger.

ECAC Hockey

After a slow start, Quinnipiac (13-7-1, 9-2-1 ECAC) is on top of the ECAC. It is important to note that Harvard (9-4, 6-2 ECAC) has four games in hand and Cornell (10-2, 6-1 ECAC) has five; both sit seven points back of first place.

As expected, the young Bobcats are led by Kelly Babstock’s 24 points. The reigning Player of the Year gets plenty of help from freshman Nicole Kosta, who has 13 assists and leads Quinnipiac with a plus-6 rating.

The Crimson begin the new year having won four in a row, including Tuesday’s 8-1 thumping of UConn. Harvard has the second-lowest goals-against average in the ECAC at 2.00. Goalie Laura Bellamy holds a .919 save percentage while top defenseman Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.) has two game-winning goals.

Dartmouth (7-5-1, 4-3-1 ECAC) is in the middle of the pack and, like the Crimson, have four games in hand on the first-place Bobcats. The Big Green started 2012 on the right note with a 5-2 triumph over Vermont Tuesday. Dartmouth has wins over both Harvard and Northeastern, and also a one-goal loss to Boston College.

Brown (4-5-5, 1-4-3 ECAC) and Yale (1-14-0, 1-7-0 ECAC) are at the bottom of the ECAC standings. The goalie tandem of Katie Jamieson and Aubree Moore has split time for the Bears, and the two have combined for a .941 save percentage.

Games of the Week

Clarkson at Northeastern, Thursday
Clarkson at Boston College, Friday

It will be interesting to see how the top two teams in Hockey East fare against the No. 2 team in the ECAC.

Clarkson won eight of nine games before the holiday break, including a 3-0 shutout of Quinnipiac. The Golden Knights have also earned points this year against Providence, Vermont and BU. Goalie Erica Howe has a 1.52 GAA while Jamie Lee Rattray leads the ECAC with 26 points.

Scott Sudikoff can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.