Yellowjackets sting Blugold women’s hockey team

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With western Wisconsin facing subzero temperatures last week, the UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team was already on thin ice as they faced No. 8 UW-Superior Saturday afternoon in Hobbs Ice Center.

Superior scored early and often as the Blugolds were shutout at Hobbs Ice Center 5-0. The first goal was recorded only four minutes into the first period by a long shot from Superior senior forward Kelsey Firkus. They increased their lead later to 2-0 with the first of two goals by sophomore forward Alexis Reid to end the period.

The Yellowjackets came out strong offensively in the second period as well. Reid knocked in her second goal at 9:10 into the second period while Haley Olmstead added to the lead four minutes later 13:23 in and Kerry Mayhew finished Superior’s scoring with a goal 17:24 into the second period.

Eau Claire came into the game carrying a 5-0 defeat to Superior the night before as well. Sophomore forward Tory Heller said the loss didn’t match their efforts.

“Coming in coach said we got to play harder, come out stronger and we tried,” Heller said. “We had a great first period, second period kind of got to us. We just had to come out there, play harder than them. The puck wasn’t bouncing our way and 5-0 was the outcome, unfortunately.”

Heller said the Blugolds tried to shrug off their mistakes of the first two periods. One major issue was unwanted penalties. Eau Claire collected three of their five penalties during the second period. The Blugolds were charged for having too many players on the ice, holding and slashing.

“After that second period we tried to recollect ourselves, get back out there, just focus on the simple things, get the puck in deep, forecheck hard and don’t get caught up in all the little details,” Heller said.

Superior outshot Eau Claire 27-14 for the game with 13 of those shots coming in the second period. Junior Sam Knutson said the team was all on the same page on the ice during the game.

“In my opinion, communication is very key whether it’s in a sport or off the ice,” Knutson said. “It’s just that little word that can help us so much. But overall, it’s not too bad on the ice.”

With the loss UW-Eau Claire drops to 3-14-2 overall on the season and 0-7 in WIAC play. UW-Superior increases their record to 14-2-4 overall and 4-2-2 in the WIAC. Knutson said the team is still looking to improve through the final month of the season.

“With having a little bit of a rough season, we still just game by game are trying to get that full 60 minute game, playing our hearts out and everything we’ve got and playing smart hockey,” Knutson said. “We still have little things we need to work on to gel more. Game by game we’re still trying to get that gel in so we can be the team that we all know we can be.”

UW-Eau Claire played at Hobbs last night against Hamline University (Minn.) and will host another again at 7 p.m. on Saturday against UW-Stevens Point for senior night.