UW-Eau Claire Women’s Hockey Tied No. 5 UW-River Falls

Blugolds continue to “hunt together” into the end of the regular season

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Ballin’ on a Budget
October 1, 2018
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UW-Eau Claire Women’s Hockey Tied No. 5 UW-River Falls

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UW-Eau Claire’s women’s hockey team is skating into their last game of the regular season after tying last Saturday’s away game against UW-River Falls, who is ranked No. 5.

“Obviously it (River Falls’ ranking) (was) in the back of our heads, but everyone (did) their best to treat it like any other game,” Jen Thomsen, a senior forward, said.

The team didn’t prepare any differently than for previous games, head coach Erik Strand said.

“We’ve got our systems that we believe will give us success regardless if we’re playing River Falls or any other opponent,” Strand added.

Eau Claire lost the initial faceoff and Maddy Illikainen earned the first point early in the period for River Falls.

The Blugolds came back with a goal at 9:18 by junior  forward Lexi Wilson assisted by Lauren Norgren, a senior defenseman.

Strand said despite the way River Falls “controlled the tempo and the momentum and set the pace” in the first period, he said he was still “excited with how the team played the entire game.”

Erin Connolly, a second-year goalie, blocked four consecutive shots by River Falls before the end of the first period. River Falls out-shot Eau Claire 10-3.

In the second period, Eau Claire took a total of nine shots but River Falls scored at 9:49.

Strand said he thought the team came out with some nerves that they hadn’t felt in a while and “needed the first few minutes to get fired up”.

Eau Claire didn’t answer until the 6:23 mark in the third period, when junior defenseman Holly Turnbull scored, tying the game at two. She was assisted by sophomore defenseman Sami Meister and junior forward Courtney Wittig.

The Blugolds fought through to overtime but were unable to get ahead, leaving Hunt Arena ranked at second in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the regular season.

The Falcons out-shot the Blugolds 28-25 and held the No. 1 seed for the WIAC.

In preparation for facing River Falls again this weekend, Strand said the team will continue with focusing on what they can control.

“A lot of other teams are built on a line of two or three people,” Strand said. “One person isn’t gonna win us a game. For us it’s all 27 of us… we’re all on the same page. As long as we’re consistent with that, I like our chances this weekend.”

With the end of the regular season almost upon the team, Thomsen said this year was one of the best she has been a part of.

“I think that each year I’ve played, every year (the team) has gotten closer and better,” Thomsen said. “We hunt together, that’s our saying.”

The second game against UW-River Falls will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Hobbs Ice Arena.

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