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Falcon women win weekend opener despite penalties

November 13, 2008

Despite committing 21 penalties and having to kill off numerous five-on-three advantages, the UW-River Falls women’s hockey team is 2-0 after wins against Augsburg College (Minn.) 7-0 and the College of St. Catherine 6-1.

“I’m happy with our penalty kill,” UWRF Head Coach Joe Cranston said. “Problem is we shouldn’t be taking so many penalties. We are probably the most penalized team in the country right now.”

In each game, six different players scored goals. Brittany Erickson scored twice on Friday night against Augsburg, her first coming just 21 seconds into the game.

“Our offense is doing pretty well right now,” Cranston said. “We are going to the net hard and have some girls on the team that can shoot the puck hard. I kind of expected our offense to be pretty good.”

Katie Flanagan, Stefanie Schmitz, Abby Sunderman, Jessica Thompson and Kayleigh Bell also scored for the Falcons on Friday who put 52 shots on goal. Jamie Briski, Erickson, Schmitz, Sunderman and Thompson each had two points.

Freshman goalie Melissa Deardorff stopped all 22 Augsburg shots in her first collegiate game.

Much of the same happened the following afternoon. UWRF was penalized 14 times resulting in 10 St. Catherine power plays.

In the first period, St. Catherine struck first with a goal by Aryn Ball, who took a pass in the slot from Kaytlyn Mount and beat UWRF goalie Cassi Campbell.

That was the only goal Campbell allowed on 29 shots, 11 of them coming in a first period where UWRF was on the penalty kill four times, one of them being a five-on-three.

“That’s my biggest disappointment right now is that we are undisciplined,” Cranston said. “Some of the ones we got were because we were aggressive, but overall we are so undisciplined and taking way too many penalties.”

The first period in which UWRF was outshot 12-5, might have been what the Falcons needed.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call,” Campbell said after the game. “I think it showed us that it wasn’t going to be an easy game for us.”

UWRF came out in the second period and put away the game for good in the first five minutes.

Briski scored her first goal of the season 31 seconds into the period and was followed by Sunderman and Flanagan, who scored their second goals of the season less than five minutes apart. Emma Nordness scored midway through the second from the right faceoff dot on a low wrist shot that beat St. Catherine goalie Mel Gerten.

“It was huge for us to come out and score right away,” Campbell said. “We came out and played well. The first period has been the only one we have lost in the six we have played.”

Defensemen Breanne Hrabe and Lauren Conrad scored nearly identical goals with hard slap shots from the right point.

Flanagan led the Falcons with three points in the game (one goal, two assists) and leads the team with four points.

With two young goalies who faced 51 shots, Cranston said he is pleased.

“We have given up far too many shots, most of them because of penalties,” Cranston said. “But our goalies, both of them have looked really good. Campbell played great and Deardorff had a shut-out in her first game as a freshman, so I’m really happy there.”

Even with its dominating wins, UWRF’s schedule will get tougher as the year progresses with better teams on slate.

“We’re going to play tougher teams than this,” Cranston said.

UWRF will have home games Nov. 15 and 16 at 2:05 p.m. against Lake Forest College (Ill.), which will be the start of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) season.