Women’s hockey rises to the occasion

Blugolds go 0-1-1 against No. 6 UW-Stevens Point over the weekend


Photo by Trent Tetzlaff

UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team fell short to Stevens Point in a 4-1 loss Saturday night on the road.

Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Staff Writer

At Hobbs Ice Center on Friday night, the Blugolds showed that they can play with the toughest of opponents in the country after tying No. 6 UW-Stevens Point 3-3 in a physical conference matchup.

Junior goalie Paige Turner said that simply staying mentally strong coming into the weekend gave the Blugolds what they needed to contend with the Pointers.

“Knowing we can keep up with great teams and setting a strong mentality coming into the weekend games helped a ton,” Turner said. “We just stayed mentally tough all weekend and just played our game.”

Despite many early chances, the Blugolds found themselves behind after a mistake midway through the first period in front of their own net resulting in a turnover and an easy Pointers’ 2-on-1 goal.

But the Blugolds were able to respond nearly one minute later thanks to senior Andi Husted’s slap shot goal from their zone’s blue line, waking up the rather large Blugold fan section. The celebration wasn’t long lived though as the Pointers were able to respond with a long slap shot of their own to end the first period with a 2-1 lead.

After a very quiet second period sophomore, Paige Dale was able to get the Blugolds back on track thanks to a Stevens Point turnover allowing her to deke the goalie one on one and put in an easy goal to tie the game at two. But Dale wasn’t done, after some patient passing around the zone she sent a laser from the blue line into the upper corner of the net to take a 3-2 lead.

However, the Blugolds couldn’t hold the lead as the Pointers took advantage of a scrum in front of the Blugold net and snuck the equalizer past Turner taking the game to a physical overtime period full of great defense for five minutes leading to a 3-3 draw.

Eau Claire tied a season high with 26 shots on goal, giving the Blugold defense and Turner help in net.

“Our team putting more shots on goal gives us all a huge boost but especially me in net,” Turner said. “It adds to my confidence and allows me to relax more during the game which is great.”

After the strong showing Friday night, the Blugolds traveled to Stevens point looking to build off the momentum they had built up but came up short to the Pointers 2-1.

Senior Sam Knutson gave the Blugolds an early 1-0 lead after a power play goal midway through  the first period, but that was all the Blugolds would be able to manage.

Stevens Point tied the game halfway through the second period and took the lead in the third period, scoring the eventual game-winning goal at the end on Turner, who saved 45 of 47 shots on the night.

After this upcoming weekends games with St. Scholastica (Minn.), and Augsburg (Minn.), the Blugolds will be away from the ice for awhile due to finals and winter break, but Head coach Mike Collins said as soon as the break ends they will be getting right back to it.

“We will continue to work on staying focused through finals week and over break,” Collins said. “And as we come back we will work on getting our skating legs back and just getting ready for our future opponents.”

As for Turner, she said that the upcoming break will allow the team to get rested and enjoy sleeping in instead of having morning practice.

“We will be practicing in the afternoons instead of early mornings over break which all of us love,” Turner said. “But beyond that, as we come back to practice from break, we will be getting right back into work right away.”