Tuesday, October 28, 2008

National Polls

For the second week in a row, the UND women's hockey team finds itself receiving votes in consideration of a national top 10 ranking. The Sioux swept Union college 3-0 and 4-1 this past weekend at the Ralph. UND received 1 top 10 vote in each the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

Unbeaten Wisconsin still holds the top spot in the country followed by #2 Minnesota, #3 Harvard, #4 Boston College, #5 New Hampshire, #6 Dartmouth, #7 MN-Duluth, Boston University, #9 St. Lawrence and #10 Clarkson. Both Harvard and Dartmouth have yet to play an NCAA game. MSU-Mankato, who had been recieving votes, dropped out of both polls after losing a pair to MN-Duluth.

Ohio St. Preview
OSU, fresh off a sweep of Bemidji State last weeked comes to the Ralph Saturday and Sunday to take on the Sioux. Game time is set for 12:07pm each day. OSU is 4-4-0 this year sweeping Providence on the road to start the year before being swept themselves by Wisconsin and Minnesota respectively. Here's a breakdown of OSU.

OSU returns both Liana Bonanno and Deirdra Facklis. Lianna has seen a majority of the action this year recording a 4-3-0 record with a 3.30 and a .907 save %. Facklis played the 3rd period of the first game vs. Minnesota and played in game 2 of that series and lost 8-2.

OSU graduated a ton of fire power last season in Tessa Bonhomme and Lisa Chesson which leaves two very large gaping holes back on the blue line. Both combined for 71 points and were always a threat to score. OSU returns a group of 4 lead by JR. Rachel Davis and Sophomores Shannon Reilley and Teal Bishop. Newcommers include Cretin-Derham Hall graduates Kelly Wild and Brittany Carlson

Graduating 50-point scorer Erin Keys along with Mallory Peckels up front at forward doesn't bode well for OSU's offensive output. But OSU does have a highly touted recruiting class in forwards Natalie Spooner, Laura McIntosh, Melissa Feste and Kim Theut. Spooner and McIntosh were members of Canada's silver medal U-18 National Team while Feste won a MN State title as a senior at Eden Priarie HS. Theut comes from the highly regarded Little Caesars U-19 Club program in Detroit, MI. Spooner leads OSU in scoring and has been counted on to produce early and often. She has 7 goals and 3 assists for 10 points in 8 games.

What to Expect:
Look for UND's speed up front to test OSU's young defense and put the pressure on. Senior forward Melissa Jaques has been on fire as of late. UND is ranked 7th in the nation in offensive scoring with 3.38 goals per game to OSU's 26th overall ranking at 2.28 goals per game. As always, special teams will be key and OSU leads the nation in penalties averaging just over 8 minor penalties a game. UND's power play will have to produce. UND's penalty kill has been strong thus far and continues to get better with an 87% effectiveness. Both teams are young and playing freshman in key roles. UND has a more balanced scoring attack and overall depth up front at forward. It should be a great tilt!

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