Did You Know: The Clarkson Hockey program has amassed 10,001 goals since the 1920-21 season?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

CHF's ECACHL Women's Semifinal Preview - Part 1

#1 St. Lawrence v. #4 Harvard

Harvard comes off what might be the toughest four game stretch of the year, all against a stingy Clarkson team that took game three of last week's quarterfinals into double overtime before Jennifer Sifers rifled in the game winner. The victory advances the Crimson into a semifinal matchup against St. Lawrence who will be hosting this year's ECACHL Final Four. In last weekend's matchup, Clarkson grinded Harvard to a halt, forcing Harvard to play Clarkson's game of fighting for pucks and looking for defensive breakdowns. Harvard will likely need to do the same thing to St. Lawrence to have any chance of advancing to the finals the next day.

Harvard's "Evil Jennys" as I like to call them (Raimondi, Sifers and Brine) had a hand in every single goal in the last four games. They'll need to keep up this scoring tear throughout the rest of the playoffs. They'll also need some supporting help from Carrie Schroyer and Lindsay Weaver who both had an excellent series against Clarkson. Ali Boe was average in her performance last weekend. Each of the goals that were scored on her, she seemed handily beaten by, either by great passes, or being out of position after a big rebound. She didn't let any soft goals in, but she did seem to have problems playing the puck outside of the crease. She'll need to tighten up her game, because the St. Lawrence offense is much less forgiving than Clarkson's.

St. Lawrence comes off a decisive sweep 6-2, 6-3 sweep of Yale in last weekend's quarterfinals, and everyone was lighting the lamp. Seven different SLU players scored goals in the series, bump that up to thirteen if you want to go by points. SLU buried Yale with 89 shots, including 53 on Saturday, and their offense was clicking. They did give up 30 shots to Yale on Friday, but the defense tightened it up on Saturday bringing it down to 19.

Both Meghan Guckian and Jess Moffat saw time in net last weekend, and both played well. We suspect the starting nod will go to Patty Kazmeier candidate Moffat in her senior year, as she's seen her share of big games. Emilie Berlinguette had four goals last weekend and looks to keep lighting the lamp. abrina Harbec is second in the country in scoring with sixty points on the season, just a single point out of the top spot, and is nearing the two points per game mark. She leads the country in assists, while teammate Carson Duggan leads the country in goals with 33.

SLU leads the series 1-0-1 this season, with Harvard tying the Saints at Bright in November. SLU is 20-0-0 when taking a lead out of the first period. If Harvard tries to play SLU's open game, I feel like they will get over-run by the Saints potent offense. Harvard will need to play Clarkson's game against SLU. Dragging the game to a near halt, and looking for opportunities to spring Sifers and Raimondi on breaks. Harvard needs to be smart when slowing the game down and cannot take penalties. SLU scores nearly a quarter of the time on the power play, and if Harvard averages their usual 12 penalty minutes a game, that's one to two goals per game. The longer that Harvard can keep the Saints scoreless, the better chance they'll have to win. This is a tall order, considering SLU scores an average of four goals a game, but three teams have gotten the best of SLU this year, so it can be done. I think Harvard plays SLU tough, but the Saints powerful offense combined with what should be a huge home-ice advantage will take St. Lawrence to the finals.

Prediction: St. Lawrence 3 - Harvard 0 (ENG)


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