The battle for the Class of '23 is on. While these neighbors practice and play games at the same rink, their trajectory has always been slanted. UPENN was last season's D2 runner up and only lost 1 game in the regular season. Returning now with a recharged line-up, that again includes top goal-getter Brynn Leopold (but is missing point leader Brittany Gross), the ivy league crew could again be on the path to a top ranking. On paper, those fortunes have been reversed for Saint Joe's who's record was winless last season. Their roster, while reduced, still includes goal-scorer Kathleen Marinzulich and net-minder Julie Stephano, who stopped 40 shots in her last regular season game last year. The slate now clear, these cross-town rivals kick off the season for rink bragging rights.
Though it sounds like a classic football rivalry, the match-up on ice is just as exciting and heated. The Terps visit Charlottesville this weekend to take on the Hoos of UVA as part of homecoming weekend. The ladies of Virginia have been handcuffed by an extremely short bench, but even with the disadvantage they're pushing with all they've got. Behind Carly Buckholz's 6 point performance on opening weekend, the team put 9 goals away in only 2 games. The bench may be short, but it's scrappy, and hunting for a first win at home. The Terps, last year's southern champs, lost last week's opener 3-8 on the road. Short on numbers, Maryland was still able to outshoot their opponent and kept it close till the legs ran out in the 3rd. This go around the Terps have added a few key players back to the lineup after the loss, they'll look for a 1st win in this big university bash.
A future Maryland rivalry in the making, the newly minted team from Towson docks at the Naval Academy this Sunday. Towson's first, ever women's hockey game will be a spectacle in itself, but don't come looking for newbies; The Tigers have a dangerously short bench but it's an experienced one, drawing on backgrounds such as Susquehanna, Montgomery and the Navy's own U19 team. The Midshipmen on the other hand, have 23 players on the roster but a majority are newer to the game. Experience aside, the big squad is well-practiced, well-coached and ready to start this season as a threat. This historic first match-up should be one to remember and could easily transform into a state pride clash in the years to come.
Another historic 1st meeting as Rowan travels to the nation's recently restarted capital to challenge the Lady Eagles of AU. The term 'restarted' can also apply to American who play their 1st game as a member of D2 after 11 years in D1. Their crop of newer skaters have come a long way in a short month, now ready to meet the visiting Rowan. RU, a brand new team who won their first college hockey game last week (7-0), look to keep the momentum alive after 9 of their 12 players recorded a point and both goaltenders denied every shot they faced. With the season started, Rowan looks to improve to 2-0 and stay on top of the standings.
Years of competition are renewed this weekend as the New Yorkers of Columbia meet Hawks of IUP. The teams haven't faced off in over a year (thanks to weather cancellations last season) and in that time a lot has changed. Columbia's bench as doubled in size while IUP's has graduated many off. Regardless, the Hawks were last year's 3rd place team and have the offensive ability to climb the ladder again. Columbia started the season with a 0-7 loss to Rowan, a tough score but maybe just enough to knock the rust off the skates for a big weekend away. Their season, and the renewal of this rivalry, begin today.
Tag(s): Home Season American University Univ. of Virginia Towson University U.S. Naval Academy Univ. of Maryland Columbia University Indiana U. of Pennsylvania Rowan University Saint Joseph's University Univ. of Pennsylvania