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HOCKEY'S BACK ...FROM BREAK

01/25/2013, 6:00pm EST
By DVCHC Women's Hockey

1st Semester's Questions Are Soon To Be Answered

The second half of the DVCHC season is ready to roll!

With 56 games already in the books, an array of possibilities and sizeable question marks have been carved into the homestretch ahead. 

Here’s a look at a few…

Don’t miss your chance to ANSWER them for yourself in 2013 – we’ll see you in the stands! 




OK FOR REALS: CAL U or WEST CHESTER?
It’s no surprise that the CAL U / WCU match-up has become so heated.  Both teams have blossomed, have pushed & shoved each other through do-or-die games, and now stand together atop the national standings.  WCU was #1 in the DVCHC last year and is 9-1-0-0 this go ‘round.  They’ve scored 61 goals (that’s 6 a game) and have only allowed 8 against.  Not to be outdone, CAL U has been ranked #1 in the country all season.  Since Maria Sciacca (left) has jumped between the pipes, the Vulcans have been 4-1 behind her .920 save percentage and 1.50 GAA.

These are two hard-working, talented teams whose only losses are to one another.  This toe-to-toe-ness may ultimately lead to titanic match-ups in the DVCHC & ACHA Championships but first, a regular season possibility:  If these powerhouses continue at this pace, they could tie for 1st place in the division.  Since they’re 1-1 in the head-to-head, that tie would be settled by total goals against.  Keep your eye on those numbers, just in case.


SHOULD I NOTIFY HOMELAND SECURITY ABOUT THE BLUE HEN & WAHOO SLEEPER CELLS?
UVA and Delaware are both hovering at 3rd place in their divisions with 3 games left to play.  Don’t be fooled!  Delaware’s two games vs #1 West Chester came down to 2-3 and 2-0 near misses.  They’ve got 42 goals for and only 16 against in 9 games.  That’s a bird with beak.  Delaware once had a history of entering playoffs on top and exiting first, perhaps 2013 is the year this deep bench gets to play  spoiler.  UVA is traditionally the opposite, limping into playoffs but then electrifying the field and taking it all.  They have more banners than any team, lost by a single goal in last year’s final and yet were never ranked as the #1 seed coming in.   This tiny bench graduated a lot of talent but its well-coached drive, growing goalie and big, bad Kerry Wilson give this VA venom.  Don’t count either out.

 

WILL THE QUAKERS REVERSE THE CURSE?
The Wheatley Trophy has been handed to a champion every season since the women's side began in 2002.  Those early days there was one division, and UPENN owned it -- notching back-to-back, undefeated seasons to raise Wheatley twice.  Nowadays the trophy is awarded to the D2 champion and the Quakers have a chance to raise it again.  Undefeated through 5 games, the Quakers have 42 goals.  That’s 8.4 goals per game, off the sticks of 12 different players (16 of their 17 regular skaters have points).  That kind of depth is hard to match.  STILL, don’t count out Rutgers & IUP, two great rematches coming up this semester and contenders at playoffs.  Plus there’s still the curse to get past – only 2 of 5 first seeds have won the D2 championship.  In fact, of the past 8 champions in D1, only two were the first seed.  One of those was UPENN -- maybe they can extend that magic to D2.


Photos by Carl McCombs



DO BECKY DOBSON & ALYSSA AGATI STAY RED HOT DESPITE PESKY, MAYAN APOCALYPSE?
Click the player standings and you’ll see two familiar faces:  Becky Dobson (left) who leads D1 in all SIX offensive / defensive categories (3.8 points per game) and Alyssa Agati, now tops in D2 with 4 of 6 categories (4 points per game).  Maybe this is what the Mayans were all hieroglyphic-ie about.  There are lots of points to be had and plenty of talent climbing after them but if these two stars keep burning they may keep the crowns they’ve earned thus far.

 

NIEMI HAS STOPPED HOW MANY SHOTS?
Liberty has struggled getting on the board this season but that hasn’t stopped the girls in red, white & blue from skating it through.  Standing tallest, goalie Leanne Niemi has seen 557 shots.  557.  That’s 273 more than the next runner up.  62 shots to stop ...per game.  Despite this shooting gallery, Niemi has a save % over .900 and has given her girls a shot each time out.  2013 could bring a payoff for all the hard work.



S. ROCK, PAPER, WILDCATS: WHO EARNS THE TRIP TO HARRINGTON?
SRU and Villanova each have 6 games left to play and as good a shot as any to break into the top field.  Yet because both are 0’fer in the Northern division, the last remaining playoff spot could come down to their head-to-heads (on 1/27 and 2/3).  The Wildcats arguably have a harder climb ahead with WCU twice and CAL once this semester, so their games vs SRU are even more crucial.  The women of Slippery Rock just took the Cal U crew to 2-3 in their last game of 2012.  That tenacity and their 4 point lead over VU could catapult them through and make this question a no brainer.  Either way, we’ll all be watching the weekend!

 

NEW YORK OR PHILADELPHIA IN D2? 
It’s steak & cheese or the perfect pizza slice, Philly vs NY for the 4th seed in D2.  Separated by 2 points, Columbia and Saint Joseph’s will come head to head this semester.  The last time they did Columbia won 2-0.  Lot of games ahead but if things go bad and COL and SJU don’t get another win, they’ll face one another in the last game of their season with everything on the line!


HOW DOES THE TOPSY-TURVY SOUTH SHAKE OUT?
No team in the south has scored more goals than they’ve allowed.  It’s a frustrating fact for many below the Mason-Dixon who may have started with netminder issues, but now seem to be finding their feet.  New goalies are gaining and now the top 4 teams are separated by a win or two.  The standings could really go any possible way but a few things to watch.  (1) Maryland has surged behind Corry Clark (22 pts) and a confident AJ Faust.  They could hold on to first place.  (2)  Navy still has FIVE games to play, that’s a lot of potential points for the team with the fewest goals against in the division (by a lot).  They're stronger now and have moved into 1st.  Look out for the mids!  (3) UVA has scored almost 6 goals per game and has a building net-minder in Lizzie Samardge.  They could keep climbing but they’ll need to do so with a short rope, only three games left.  (4)  Though the team had to put a player in net, every skater on AU’s roster (save 1) had at least 2 points.  That is, until the team lost 5 key players over the break.  Limping, this team could find a miracle on campus... or sadly fold.  (5) Despite the Herculean efforts of Leanne Niemi in net, Liberty has struggled to put pucks in the net.   If they can build off their progress and take a win or two this semester it could be just what the squad needs to carry into the next season.  With AU a possible fold, don’t count them out for post-season play.


HEAD-TO-HEAD, RUTGERS OR IUP?
Columbia / Saint Joe’s isn’t the only match-up to be curious about in 2013 -- #2 IUP and #3 RUTGERS have yet to square off.  IUP’s defense has allowed only 6 goals, Rutgers is averaging 8 goals a game.  When the two meet in PA for two games on the last weekend of the regular season, it could be the immovable rock vs the unstoppable object.  Watch those standings!

 

WHO WILL RAISE THE CUP(S)?
Only one way to find out.  The 2013 Women’s Championship will be held in Harrington, DE over the President’s Day weekend (Feb 16-18th).  The cups will be raised on the Monday holiday, official website goes live this week with all the info.  Games are do or die and not to be missed! 

 

WAIT, NO!  HOCKEY IS OVER IN ONE MONTH?!
Don’t get your net in a knot.  The 2013 All-Star game will be held on April 21st.  The Hershey Bear’s GIANT CENTER will again play host to the women’s All-Star game, New-Star game, awards ceremony and more.  A great day of hockey with a FREE trip to Hershey park included in the discount admission!  Details on our website soon!

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