2022 NCAA NC Women’s Ice Hockey Slice Predictions, 2 Months Ahead of Drafts
The 2021-22 college women’s hockey season has been fun so far and we still have plenty of hockey left. Lots of goals to score, pucks to save and games to win. That will be great.
On March 21, the national tournament table will be published. Since we’re about two months away, let’s forecast the range.
It will be even better this year since the bracket has gone from eight to 11 teams. Now even more teams are seeking spots in the big dance.
Before we dive in, let’s lay down some ground rules. Four conferences are granted automatic qualification – CHA, ECAC, Hockey East and WCHA. The other seven teams succeed on general offers. To choose these seven teams, the committee considers the record of wins and losses, strength of the schedule, eligibility and availability of student-athletes for championships. Three other stats taken into consideration are RPI, head-to-head competition, and results against common opponents. The best way to track this is to go through PairWise.
As for seeding, I had to do my best to avoid conference games in the first round. However, according to the pre-championship manual, if four or more teams from a conference are selected for the final six spots, the integrity of the bracket is protected. This happened in my case as you will see below. I also had to consider the committee’s emphasis on the student-athlete experience and ensuring teams play in front of their fans.
Let’s jump into the parenthesis.
Here are my top four seeds:
- ohio state
These first four seeds should surprise no one. The only big omission is Quinnipiac, and the Bobcats are my first No. 2 seed.
Wisconsin is the best team in college hockey. With only one regulation loss this season, the Badgers have been simply dominant. Three of the top 10 points in college hockey belong to Wisconsin — second Casey O’Brien (38), second Makenna Webster (35) and senior Daryl Watts (19). If its Jan. 15-16 series hadn’t been rescheduled against St. Thomas, chances are Wisconsin would still be No. 1 in goals as well. Even without those games, the Badgers rank third in the nation in goals for (100) and second in fewest goals against (25). Wisconsin’s triple round wouldn’t be a shock.
RANKINGS: Discover the best teams of the first half
Ohio State arrives at No. 2 and the Buckeyes score many of goals. They have only played 20 games and are still leading the country with 109 goals. Defenseman Sophie Jaques is tied for fourth in the nation with 37 points and has easily been the best defenseman in college hockey so far. With Jaques, junior Jennifer Gardiner has 33 points, second Jenna Buglioni has 31, graduate student Clair DeGeorge has 29 and senior Paetyn Levis has 27.
Then comes the northeast. While the Huskies don’t have those showy numbers, they do boast the best goalie in the nation, graduate student Aerin Frankel. The 2021 Patty Kazmaier Award winner leads the nation in goals-against-average (0.89) and save percentage (0.964). She has only allowed more than two goals in a single appearance this season and that came back on October 9. This is the main reason why Northeastern has allowed the fewest goals in the country (20).
Minnesota has similar strength to Wisconsin and Ohio State in that the Gophers also score a bunch of goals. As of this writing, they rank second in the nation in goals with 104. Senior forward Taylor Heise leads the nation with 41 points and was the heartbeat of one of the best offenses in the league. league. Since losing three of its first four games, Minnesota has won 16 of its last 20 games.
- CHA: mercyhurst
- ECAC: Quinnipiac
- Hockey East: Northeast
- WCHA: Wisconsin
Now let’s move on to the regionals.
Regional #1: Wisconsin
- First round: No. 2 Colgate vs. No. 3 Minnesota Duluth
- Second turn: Wisconsin’s No. 1 winner vs. Colgate-Minnesota Duluth
In the Wisconsin area, a Colgate-Minnesota Duluth game in the first round would be a good game. Why? For starters, these two teams faced off in last season’s tournament, with the Bulldogs winning 1-0. Ashton Bell is the one who scored the winner in overtime. This year, Colgate and Minnesota Duluth currently rank No. 4 and 5 in goals. Both have immense firepower up front. Minnesota Duluth sports three of the nation’s top 10 scorers in senior Gabbie Hughes (40), senior Elizabeth Giguere (37) and senior Anna Klein (33). The Raiders have junior Danielle Serdachny (34), second Kalty Kaltounkova (32) and Dara Greig (28).
DASHBOARD: Keep track of all the latest North Carolina women’s hockey action
But does either team’s score match Wisconsin’s? Probably not. It would take a lot for either team to beat Wisconsin. Although Colgate did not face the Badgers, the Bulldogs were swept by them in mid-October.
Yet, this is the national tournament we are talking about. How’s the saying? Something like… “Anything can happen?” It’s more like that.
Regional #2: Ohio State
- First round: No. 2 Clarkson vs. No. 3 Mercyhurst
- Second turn: Ohio State No. 1 winner vs. Clarkson-Mercyhurst
Clarkson and Mercyhurst wouldn’t be that close to a first-round matchup. The Lakers enter this tournament winning the CHA while Clarkson has consistently been one of the top 10 teams in the nation all season. Clarkson goalie Michelle Pasiechnyk has been a brick wall in goal all year, ranking fifth in the nation in overall GAA (1.35) and eighth in save percentage (.940). The offense, which ranks eighth in goals with 71, is led by senior Caitrin Lonergan with 33 points this season. So far this season, Mercyhurst is 0-3 against ranked opponents.
Clarkson and Mercyhurst are not on Ohio State’s schedule during the regular season. With an Ohio State-Clarkson matchup, the Golden Knights would need Pasiechnyk at his best to get past the Buckeyes. There is a very real possibility that this could happen.
Regional n°3: North-East
- First round: No. 2 Yale vs. No. 3 Harvard
- Second turn: Northeast No. 1 winner vs. Yale-Harvard
There is no doubt that this regional would be full of supporters. With Harvard and Northeastern close together, plus Yale just a two-hour drive from Boston, Northeastern would be tipping.
Yale and Harvard as a first-round matchup would be a tie game, CEAC. Yale hosted Harvard on November 12, defeating the Crimson, 3-1. Harvard hosted Yale on January 15, beating the Bulldogs 3-1. Offensively, the two teams are quite similar, with Yale only having three more total goals than Harvard. In goal, Yale’s Gianna Meloni and Harvard’s Becky Dutton have both been reliable this season. Again, this is a extremely same matchup.
OLYMPICS SZN: Here’s where Team USA went to college
The question comes down to whether the winner can beat Frankel in the North East net? It will be a brutally difficult task for any team that faces the Huskies this spring.
Regional #4: Minnesota
- Second turn: Minnesota No. 1 vs. Quinnipiac No. 2
Minnesota would come into this game as one of the best offensive teams in the nation. As previously reported, the Golden Gophers rank second in the nation in goals with 104. Heise and senior Abigail Boreen are two of the nation’s biggest threats with a puck on their stick in the offensive zone. On the other hand, Quinnipiac is in the top five in goals against with 30. Senior goaltender Corinne Schroeder ranks second in the nation in save percentage (.955) and third in GAA (1.22). A battle between these two teams would be a classic big attack against a big defense.