Blugolds lose another nail-biter in close fashion against Stevens Point

    Blugolds and Pointers were locked at (0-0) until Point capitalizes on power play in third period

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    Last Saturday proved to be yet another close game for the UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team as it ended up falling to UW-Stevens Point 1-0 at Hobbs Ice Arena.

    The Blugolds and Pointers battled all three periods, but Stevens Point got the final say. With 29 shots compared to Stevens Point’s 35 shots on goal, the two teams were at a draw the majority of the game.

    The momentum of the game shifted when Stevens Point’s Shauna Bollinger converted on her team’s sixth power play opportunity with 9:20 left in the third period. The Blugolds continued pushing and attacking Stevens Point throughout the third period but were not able to get a shot into the net. Head coach Erik Strand said he was once again proud of his team’s effort and is happy with the direction his team is heading.

    “The puck luck wasn’t with us tonight,” Strand said. “Stevens Point is a storied program who is great on the road.”

    Four of the five leading scorers for Eau Claire are underclassmen. Coach Strand said he is excited to see how his team continues to progress.

    “Everything is new this year,” Strand said. “New group, new system, new coach, new players. “Our younger players have really stepped up this season. There is a lot to build off regardless of what happens to end the season,” Strand said.

    Junior Mariah Czech, the leading scorer this season, said her team’s will to win is going to be a major factor in getting to the next level to finish the year off strong.

    “We played a full 60 minutes against Stevens Point. There were a few lucky bounces on their side of the ice,” Czech said. “If we keep working together as a team, there is no doubt we will be able to finish these close games.”

    As Coach Strand said, this year is a completely new trend for the Blugolds’ hockey team. Already winning more games than last year, the team has improved from what it used to be.

    Czech said everyone is dedicated to the program on and off the ice.

    “Working out together, practicing hard and studying together has enabled us to grow closer as a team,” Czech said. “At the end of the day, if we keep staying positive and dedicated, we will be able to do great things.”

    On the offensive side of the ice, Czech leads the way this season with total points. However, Paige Turner is the anchor on the other side of the ice.

    Turner saved 34 shots on goal for her team last Saturday.

    “It was a very tight game,” Turner said. “We got high quality shots on goal and challenged them the whole game. We didn’t get the bounces we would have liked, but it is exciting to see how we can play with the top teams in the conference towards the end of the season.”

    Turner said the team’s focus and game plan will not change when they travel to UW-River Falls this upcoming Saturday.

    “We just need to control the tempo of the game, stay positive and have a little ‘puck luck,’” Turner said.

    The Blugolds will face off against top of the conference rival UW-River Falls at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hunt Ice Arena.