Women’s hockey makes history

Blugolds bring home the WIAC Championship title

More stories from Maggie Cipriano

On Hawai’i Time
December 3, 2018


Women’s hockey makes history twice by securing the WIAC championship title and making it into the NCAA tournament.

The WIAC Championship nearly mirrored last year’s against the UW-River Falls Falcons when the game was pushed into overtime tied 2-2.

The difference between this conference championship game compared to last year’s is in the ending: In 2017, the Falcons came out on top. This year, it was the Blugolds walking away with the win.

We hunted together rather than doing it for ourselves,” Courtney Wittig, a junior forward, said of their win. “We never gave up and the results showed.”

Women’s hockey has another spectacular first: It was announced Monday morning the Blugolds will be in the NCAA tournament.

“It felt like everything we worked for all season had finally come together all at the right moment,” Holly Turnbull, a junior defender, said.

WIAC Championship

Saturday’s game started off slow, keeping the score 0-0 in the first period. The Falcons led in shots with an advantage of 10-7.

The second period was a good one for the Blugolds. Leading in shots 9-3, Wittig scored the first goal of the game at 7:47 with an assist from Bree Osborne, first-year defensemen. At 14:09, the Falcons swooped in and tied the game.

To add to the nervousness of the crowd in blue and gold, River Falls scored within the first five minutes of the third period, breaking the tie and making the score 2-1.

The Blugolds came back as Elizabeth Bauer, a second-year forward, scored her ninth goal of the season. This once again tied the game 2-2 at 7:49. Kelly Knetter, junior forward, and Wittig made assists.

Although the Blugolds out-shot the Falcons 8-4 in the third period, the game was stretched by overtime.

During overtime, the Falcons had multiple shots. In goal, Erin Connolly, second-year , continuously had save after save maintaining the tie.

At the end of this game, Connolly had 22 saves and rightfully won her 17th game of the season.

The game winner was a wild one for UW-Eau Claire history. In overtime, Mariah Czech, senior forward, successfully shot out the River Falls goalie securing the game-winning goal. Czech had an assist from Emma Peterson, first-year forward. The final score was 3-2.

For the first time in women’s hockey at Eau Claire, the Blugold brought home a WIAC Championship title.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that our team continues to make history,” Wittig said. “We can show people what we are made of.”

As Blugolds make history, fans can support the team in their fight against Gustavus Adolphus at 7 p.m. this Friday, March 9 at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter, Minn. in the NCAA tournament. The winner of that game will play Hamline on Saturday in Sat. Peter, Minn.

The Gustavus Adolphus Gusties are 20-3-4 compared to the Blugold’s 18-6-4 standing.

“Of course there is quite a bit of new excitement, but we aren’t satisfied with simply making the tournament,” Turnbull said. “We are determined to finally be able to make a name for ourselves on the national stage.”