While the men are out in Ulster playing puck, the women will be hosting their own tournament, the Windjammer Classic, for the second straight season. Blah, corporate names, but I guess it helps pay the bills…
Three teams are in this tournament and like in the Friendship Four preview we’ve already discussed one, Robert Morris, which you can find here: https://thevermonthockeyblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/womens-preview-vermont-robert-morris-2x/ Should note that the Colonials are currently 9-1-4 and received votes in the last poll.
First up, the Cats’ known opponent, the St. Cloud State Huskies. A decent team stuck in the hell known as WCHA women’s hockey (a conference that also contains the top two ranked teams in the country, one of whom is the defending national champions, as well as seventh-ranked North Dakota). Oh and don’t forget they still have eight games against currently-ranked opposition this year. The Huskies are battle-tested, and coming off an impressive 3-0 shutout win at Bemidji last weekend led by Janine Alder’s 31 saves. Their offense has been a huge problem, though, as they’re currently tied for 27th in the country (of 38) in goals for per game this year with 1.79. This game is winnable, but it won’t be easy.
Then there’s Clarkson, the 2014 national champions and fifth-ranked team in the country. This is a women’s hockey powerhouse, plain and simple. Their three losses this year all came against teams currently in the top 3 (St. Lawrence, who hasn’t been scored on in forever, and top-ranked Wisconsin). They are the antithesis of the Huskies offensively, with the best offense in Division I women’s hockey. (Yes, Holy Cross has more and is transitioning to D-I, but they’re still essentially a Division III team playing D-III schools.) They have eight players in double-figure points. The Cats played them last year at Gutterson and got killed 5-0 and 3-0. This team is very, very good, and likely the favorites headed in.
Enjoy the games!