Women’s hockey notches huge tie against Superior

Coming off a 2 – 2 tie at home and a 3 – 0 loss away to fifth-ranked UW-Superior last weekend, the UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey is holding their own in the heat of the season.

Technical passes, strong power plays and a consistently resilient defense are all strengths head coach Mike Collins said his team is recognizing after their third double-header.

“As players get more confidence, we as coaches try to reciprocate that confidence,” Collins said. “The coaching staff has to start questioning what we’re going to do differently. It’s all experimental and it’s all about figuring out your team.”

As an unranked team, Collins said he’s happy with the way the Blugolds have approached the powerhouses of their schedule.

Sophomore Paige Turner said her team approached the Yellowjackets knowing the majority of them come from a region farther north than they’re familiar with, and was happy to see the team’s game plan was effective out of the gate.

“We knew that because the majority of their team is from Canada, we were in for a tough weekend,” Turner said. “They’re a lot tougher than American players …they were vicious.”

While Collins said the team’s freshmen have had a successful transition thus far, he prefers approaching the team as a collective.

“I love to lay into the freshman all year but by my standards that ‘freshmen’ tag has got to go,” Collins said. “They’ve had long enough to learn and now instead of freshmen and upperclassmen, it’s just a team.”

After coming off a tough double-header, the Blugolds won’t be catching any sort of break this weekend against their sixth-ranked rivals from UW-River Falls.

“There’s a reason they’ve won the conference championship six or seven times in the last eight or nine years,” Collins said. “They’re a very skilled team so we’ve got to understand we’re not going to beat them with just an average effort.”

Moving forward, Collins said the name of the game against the Falcons will be goaltending.

Turner, Eau Claire’s goalie, said she’s prepared for a dogfight against a team they’ve traditionally clashed with.

“I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s an I-94 kind of thing but we’ve always played hard against each other,” Turner said. “It’s been one of the most intense rivalries we’ve ever had.”

Catch the Blugolds face off against the Falcons at 7 p.m. home this Friday night at Hobbs Ice Center.