Sure, the men’s hockey game on Friday night is important, but the women’s game is even more crucial. If for some reason the Providence Friars send the #1 Fightin’ Jerry Yorks home, we’ll see them again in the NCAA Tournament. As for the women, however, if they lose their next game, that ends their season.
What is that game, you ask? Why, it’s the 2012 Frozen Four semifinal between the #4 Eagles and #1 Wisconsin Badgers in a rematch of last year’s national semifinal. That 2011 contest was very close, with Wisconsin pulling out a late 3-2 victory en route to a national championship.
Not only are the Badgers the top overall team in the tournament once again, but they are still stacked with top players. In particular, they have the nation’s top goal-scorer in junior Brianna Decker with 37. The Eagles’ top scorer is Alex Carpenter, only a freshman, with 21. As a matter of fact, there are three additional Badgers above Carpenter in goals scored (Brooke Ammerman, Hilary Knight, and Carolyne Prevost), which goes to show what an offensive team they are.
To that end, the Badgers are second in the nation in goals scored with 4.55 per game (BC: 14th, 2.97).
Speaking of categories in which Wisconsin is second, their goaltending is also very good, making them among the most complete teams in the country. Goalie Alex Rigsby led the nation in saves percentage and her team allowed just 1.42 goals per game (Boston College: 9th, 2.03).
Eagles goaltender Corinne Boyles, who has had a very good season with a .925 save percentage, is going to have to be on top of her game if BC is to have any chance. Wisconsin is a very prolific offensive team, and if Boyles (and the defense in front of her) can’t slow them down, with the way the Badgers prevent goals, it could be a short stay in Duluth.
The Eagles are no doubt facing the best team in the tournament; beat them and not only are you one game from the title, but having taken out the top dogs, you’re the favorites. There is much to be done before that, though, and by no means should anyone out there take the Badgers for granted.
Gametime is at 6pm Eastern; ncaa.com should have a way for fans to follow the action.