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Women’s hockey stays cold

The UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team fell 2-1 to UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, dropping their record to 6-10-3 on the season.

After a tough 1-0 loss to the Pointers on Friday, the team was still looking for their first ever road win against the team.

They began Saturday’s matchup with a 1-0 lead with 9:18 left in the first. Sophomore Sam Knutson clinched a top shelf shot assisted by freshman Tory Heller and senior Dani Kerr.

But after their early success, Kerr said the next two periods were pretty difficult on both sides of the puck for the Blugolds.

“We’re still working on the right combinations and trying to generate more opportunities,” Kerr said. “I think in our defensive zone we could get stronger between better coverage and making quicker decisions with the puck.”

After two shorthanded goals in the second and third, the Pointers proved to be the more offensive team, taking 22 more shots than the Blugolds overall. From the beginning, Heller said she expected a tough couple of games from Stevens Point.

“I knew we had to compete hard for the full sixty minutes and that’s just what we did,” Heller said. “We didn’t do anything fancy, we were just hustling and grinding it out the whole game.”

Head Coach Mike Collins said the games could have gone either way given the competitive history between the two teams.

“We’re two very similar teams,” Collins said. “We’ve been very close the past couple of years.”

Collins felt the team was short of their full potential due to outside distractions like sickness and injuries, but he said they still worked well together.

“This time of year we’re a little dinged-up and the flu is going around,” Collins said. “It wasn’t our healthiest team we’ve had all year but nonetheless you still have to play with what you have.”

As a whole, Collins felt the women’s hockey team played within themselves, and said they’ve improved since their last game. On top of coordinating, he said the team skated hard and moved the puck especially well throughout Saturday’s home game.

“After a good week of practice we knew it was going to be tough,” Collins said.

In retrospect, he said the team needed to capitalize on more opportunities. Kerr said she agreed that the Blugolds will make use of their potential in the remaining three series.

“I think we’ve all got the same mindset to keep working as hard as we can,” Kerr said. “Hopefully we’ll start to make things happen for us.”

For the remainder of the season, Collins and the women said the team will focus on improving their special teams and decisiveness while controlling the puck.

“I have really high expectations for what’s next,” Kerr said. “I think we’re much more capable than the results we’ve been getting.”

The Blugolds are off this week since they have a bye but will next play at Saint Scholastica the weekend of Feb. 1.

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