December is here, but before we move on to a distinctly more hockey-friendly month, we need to give credit to the most surprising and exciting teams of November.
Teams like Wisconsin continue to roll while others begin to buckle down and prepare for the home-stretch ahead. But which among them had the best month of November? That's for you to decide.
Vote for the team you think deserves to be named the NC Women's Ice Hockey Team of the Month in the poll at the bottom of the page. You can vote up to once per day until the poll closes Tuesday, December 6 at noon Pacific, so be sure to get your vote in on time and share it with friends so they can vote as well.
Let's take a look at the nominees.
November Results: 7-0-1
November 4 Win at Quinnipiac, 4-1
November 12 Win vs. RPI, 8-3
November 18 Win at Brown, 8-1
Why Clarkson Deserves To Win
After a relatively slow start to the season, the Golden Knights went undefeated through the month of November, including a convincing 4-1 road win against eighth-ranked Quinnipiac. Junior netminder Shea Tiley hasn't allowed more than three goals in a single game in that time, amassing a goals-against average of 1.63 and a save percentage of .927.
By contrast, the offense hasn't scored less than 3 goals in a game in that time, 34 goals total in November to 12 total goals-against. For any team looking to go all the way this year, that's a positive sign. Senior forward Cayley Mercer leads the team in scoring with 21 points in 18 games, trailed closely by Rhyen McGill with 19 points.
Clarkson starts December on a difficult note, facing their ECAC co-leader, St. Lawrence. The third-ranked Saints come into the matchup undefeated, boasting a 15-0-1 record, and they certainly won't make it easy on the Knights. Clarkson suffered one of its early-season losses to St. Lawrence. On the other hand, that blemish of a tie on the Saints' record comes courtesy of Clarkson. The matchup promises to be one every hockey fan needs to see.
Conference: Hockey East
November Results: 7-2-0
November 5 Win vs. Boston College, 5-3
November 18 Win at Merrimack, 7-3
November 25 Win vs. Princeton, 4-1
Why Boston University Deserves To Win
All season, this team has been nothing if not tenacious. They've come from behind to beat rivals like sixth-ranked Boston College, delivering their finest performance in a 4-3 overtime win over Princeton on November 26. Down a goal for much of the third, the Terriers finally tied it all up at three apiece when Abby Cook tallied a goal with just four minutes left in regulation. 37 seconds into overtime, the Terriers clinched the win.
This is a team built for the moment. Through 16 games, they have been solid, if not world-beating. The two losses they gave up in November were to a pair of conference rivals, and a top-ten-ranked team in Boston College. The Terriers are on a five-game winning streak to start December, with 21 goals for to just ten goals against. They'll need to keep it up for when they meet second-ranked Minnesota for the first time this season on December 9.
Hanna Bunton (Cornell Athletics)
November Results: 3-3-1
November 11 Win vs. Brown, 4-0
November 12 Win vs. Yale, 4-2
November 18 Tie at Quinnipiac, 3-3
Why Cornell Deserves To Win
Despite an inauspicious November record, Cornell has gotten off to a pretty solid start to their season. Two of the losses they suffered last month came at the hands of first-ranked Wisconsin, a team that has been smacking nearly every team that’s crossed their paths this season. To Cornell’s credit, they managed to keep it relatively close, falling 0-3 and 2-5 consecutively. Besides the Badgers, the Big Red’s only other November loss was to seventh-ranked Colgate.
What separates Cornell has been their penalty kill. They’ve faced 52 opponent man-advantages and allowed just six goals in that span for a conversion percent of .115. Three short-handed goals have been scored by Cornell in the meantime.
In net, Paul Voorheis has been impressive. She’s posted a 1.51 goals-against average and a .954 save-percentage, going 3-3-0 so far this season. If Cornell’s offense can get into gear, this team will be one to watch going forward.
Conference: Hockey East
November Results: 5-1-2
November 5 Win vs. Maine, 3-2
November 11 Win at Merrimack, 4-2
November 20 Tie vs. Boston College, 2-2
Why Northeastern Deserves To Win
Helmed by leading scorer Denisa Krizova, the tenth-ranked Huskies continue to impress, racking up a number of conference wins through the month of November. Northeastern rolled over Providence and Merrimack, firmly planting themselves at the second spot in Hockey East’s standings with a 7-2-2 conference record.
Among the bright spots for Northeastern is Krizova, whose 24 points so far this season tops the team. Nipping at her heels is McKenna Brand, whose 16 goals in 18 games have been instrumental to her team’s success so far.
Looking ahead to December and January, Northeastern should have a fairly smooth road in front of them. The next top-ten team they’ll face is Boston College, a team they’ve already dropped a tie and a loss to, in February.
Stephen Slade/UConn Athletics
Conference: Hockey East
November Results: 4-1-2
November 5 Win at Merrimack, 7-1
November 8 Win at Brown, 3-1
November 18 Win vs. Maine, 5-3
Why Connecticut Deserves To Win
The Huskies started November with a four game winning streak, which started with a 7-1 beat down of Merrimack and concluded with a 5-3 win over Maine. With a pair of ties and a loss to conclude the month, Connecticut had its best four-week stint of the season.
Connecticut is on an upward trajectory so far, scoring 21 goals in seven November games after tallying just 16 goals in the nine games previous. The loss to Quinnipiac on November 26 notwithstanding, the Huskies are showing that they have what it takes to continue to pull out wins.
It won't be easy, however. The next two teams up on the Huskies' schedule are Boston University and tenth-ranked Northeastern. Whether or not this team has the mettle to stand up to the challenge remains to be seen, but after what they showed us in November, there's a chance that we still haven't seen the best that Connecticut has to offer.