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Falcon women ready to take to the ice at Hunt

November 2, 2006

The UW-River Falls women’s hockey team starts the season this weekend and is looking to make the program’s eighth season their most successful.

Last season, the Falcons finished with a 14-11-2 record, which was good enough for third place in the NCHA.

The Falcons’ leading goal scorer from last season, Jenna Scanlon, will return to the ice this season. Scanlon scored 13 goals last season. Jenny Wallace, the team’s leading scorer from last season and a two-time All American, will also be returning.

Last season’s top goaltender, Amber Linder, is returning to be part of a solid defensive corps.

This season, there are a number of new freshmen mixed with the upperclassmen. Only one sophomore is returning to the team following last season. Making the choice to come to River Falls was easy for a number of the freshmen on the squad.

“They have consistently been one of the top schools in Div. III,” freshman Raissa Carpenter said. “I also heard they had a good coaching staff.”

Head coach Joe Cranston returns for his eighth season with the Falcon program and has high hopes for the upcoming season.

“I think it’s good. We have a good freshman class and a mix of older players,” Cranston said. “Our chemistry is pretty good.”

Even though the team opens the season on Friday, they have already had a long time to get to know each other and improve team chemistry. Cranston said his team has had three weeks off and is now in his third week of working with the women. The amount of time on the ice before the season starts is common. It’s usually the same amount of time every season.

Carpenter said that the older women on the team have been helpful in her adjust to college hockey and to school in general.

“It’s going to be a challenge, we’re a very small team,” Carpenter said. “We’re really close-knit and hard-working.”

It’s also going to help because a number of the freshmen on the roster know a bit about the programs at the other schools they play in the WIAC and MIAC leagues.

A majority of the players are from the area and have seen and given consideration to the schools that they will be playing against this season.

Cranston said he expects Gustavus and UW-Superior to be the top teams the Falcons will play this season. He also said that UW-Stevens Point and St. Thomas will be up near the top, and he hopes his team can be up in that area of the rankings.

“I think [the Falcons] can put the puck in the net and have better offense,” Cranston said.

The Falcons open up play tonight at home at 7:05 p.m. against St. Mary’s at Hunt Arena. They will also be at home Saturday against Hamline University at 2:05 p.m.