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Women’s College Hockey Week 1 Headlines and Highlights

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

This is a disaster. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it explicitly here—maybe out of a sense of denial—but now that the 2021-2022 season has officially started, it is no longer possible to ignore what a tremendous loss the retirement of is. On the men’s side, at least a few places like College Hockey Inc have centralized scores and stat information. That doesn’t really exist in a practical way for women’s college hockey. Here’s hoping that is rectified in the future.

St. Thomas Debuts. The University of St. Thomas made their Division I debut this past weekend, immediately thrown into the deep end of the pool with a road series at Ohio State. The Tommies lost 6-0 on Friday night and 4-1 on Saturday.

Preseason, St. Thomas head coach Joel Johnson said it would take some time for St. Thomas to find out what their definition of competing would look like. I’m not sure any strong conclusions can be drawn from the opening series—there are what, maybe five or six programs in the entire country that you would expect to take points at OSU?—but the fact that they kept both games fairly respectable in terms of score is maybe a positive sign. For the time being, St. Thomas is going to be judged by how they can compete with the lower half of the WCHA, and they looked like they might be able to do that this year.

The other positive for St. Thomas is that they’re already making gains on the recruiting trail in-state. It may take a few years, but they certainly have the potential to be competing with the top tier of the WCHA some day too.

Watts Watch. This maybe isn’t going to draw as much attention because she is doing it with an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, but Wisconsin’s Daryl Watts will spend her season moving past a Who’s Who of women’s college hockey on the NCAA’s career scoring leader list. Watts had a goal and four assists in Wisconsin’s sweep over Lindenwood. That brings her to 244 career points, and into a tie for 12th place with Brianna Decker and Haley Skarupa. Next up on the list is Natalie Darwitz at 246 career points(though Darwitz only played three seasons of college hockey).

But the biggest news Watts made last week was in this interview, where she pretty much burned whatever bridge was left between her and Hockey Canada. Ultimately, the loss is as much Hockey Canada’s as it is Watts’.

Goalie Goal. Quinnipiac goalie Corinne Schroeder was credited with this goal in Quinnipiac’s win on Saturday. As best anyone seems to be able to tell, it’s the first goalie goal in D-1 women’s college hockey.

Tough start for Penn State. Penn State took a giant step forward last season, dominating the CHA, spending much of the year ranked nationally, and playing well enough to feel righteously aggrieved when they passed over for an NCAA tournament at-large berth last season. But with the return of inter-conference play this season, now the Nittany Lions will need to prove they’re a legit team and not just the product of a weak CHA schedule.

That mission got off to a rocky start this past weekend with a loss and a tie at home to St. Lawrence. They’ll host Boston College this coming weekend and really need a positive result or they’ll almost certainly need to win the CHA playoffs to make the NCAA Tournament.