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In-state rivalries among games to watch during busy college hockey weekend

Last week was a wild week in college hockey. We learned Ohio State is legit, following up its impressive performance against Minnesota by sweeping Minnesota Duluth. Colgate goaltender Liz Auby finally yielded a goal late in the second period Saturday against Northeastern, which ended her run of three consecutive shutouts and shutout streak of 308:44. Meanwhile, Harvard looks ready to begin their season, as they scored twice in nine, NINE, seconds during the first period of their exhibition against McGill.

With a loaded schedule on tap this weekend, here are three games to keep an eye on:

 [More from Excelle: Former North Dakota forward Charly Dahlquist found a new home with Ohio State]

Boston University (0-3-0, 0-3-0 WHEA) vs. Maine (4-2-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)

Friday 2:00 p.m. ET

Boston University will be looking to avoid their worst start in a decade Friday when they travel to Alfond Arena to take on the Maine Black Bears. Following its sweep at the hands of Northeastern, Boston currently sits at 0-3-0, the Terriers worst start since 2007-08 when the team began 0-5-2. While BU has the offensive weapons in Victoria Bach and Kristina Schuler, the Terriers defense needs to tighten up moving forward. They are currently giving up 35.7 shots per game while allowing 3.62 goals per game. It’s early in the season, so it’s hard to call this game a must-win, but Boston is definitely in need of some momentum. The two weeks they’ve had off should help.

Maine, on the other hand, has gotten off to their best start since 2006-07, as they currently boast a 4-2-0 record with wins over then-No. 9 Quinnipiac and then-No 10 Robert Morris. Sophomore forward Tereza Vanisova has been one of the most dynamic offensive players in the country, as the product of the Czech Republic has posted 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six games this season. Carly Jackson has been solid in the crease for the Black Bears, as the sophomore owns a 1.81 goals-against average to go along with a .923 save percentage. 

No. 6 St. Lawrence (2-0-2, 0-0-0 ECAC) vs. No. 2 Clarkson (5-0-1, 0-0-0 ECAC)

Friday 3:30 p.m./Saturday 3:00 p.m. ET

The North Country rivals will get reacquainted this weekend for a home-and-home series, with the first game being played in the Saints’ Appleton Arena, before the series shifts to Potsdam, N.Y., for game two. St. Lawrence has skated to a win and a draw in their two series this season against Mercyhurst and Merrimack. The Saints defense has been stingy, allowing only three goals, while the offense has been generating plenty of chances. In their last game against Merrimack, which ended 0-0, coach Chris Wells’ team peppered Warriors goaltender Samantha Ridgewell with 42 shots, they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Being able to stay out of the penalty box has been key early on, as St. Lawrence hasn’t sat in the box in 153:12.

Since opening up the season with a tie against Northeastern, the defending champions have rattled off five straight wins and haven’t lost in their last 22 games (20-0-2) dating back to last season. More impressively has been the play of the defense for the Golden Knights, as they have allowed only six goals in six games, including three shutouts. Clarkson’s top line of Loren Gabel, Michaela Pejzlova and Elizabeth Giguere continues to be the catalyst of the offense. They currently have 10 of the Golden Knights’ 17 goals and 22 points total. Saturday’s game against the Saints will feature the 2017 NCAA Championship banner raising ceremony.

No. 7 Minnesota (3-2-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) vs. No. 8 Minnesota Duluth (2-4-0, 0-2-0 WCHA)

Friday 3:30 p.m./Saturday 3:30 p.m. CT

Minnesota was able to get back in the win column last weekend, sweeping Bemidji State on the road, and they will be back on the road this weekend as they take on rival Minnesota Duluth. Sydney Baldwin had a big weekend for the Gophers, as she paced all NCAA blue-liners with four points on the weekend (one goal, three assists), including scoring the game-winning goal 1:04 into overtime Saturday to complete the sweep of the Beavers. Her performance won her the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week and was the NCAA’s third star of the week. Minnesota has no problem scoring the puck, but allowing almost three goals per game has to be a little concerning to a team that allowed only 1.8 per game last season.

Minnesota Duluth will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak this weekend, and what better team to do that against than in-state rival Minnesota? It’s not like the Bulldogs have lost to bad teams during the streak, they were swept on the road by No. 3 Boston College and No. 4 Ohio State. Perhaps a return home to Amsoil Arena is just what UMD needs, as it can’t afford to start the conference season 0-4-0 in what is arguably the toughest conference in the college hockey in the WCHA. Jessica Convery should be back in net for the Bulldogs and forwards Naomi Rogge (three goals, two assists) and Sydney Brodt (two goals, four assists) will need to keep possession in Minnesota’s end to avoid allowing the Gophers to get out in transition.

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