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Falcon women’s hockey skating into action

October 30, 2008

Building on the success of last season, the Falcon women’s hockey team looks to its strong leadership and exciting play to help contend for NCHA title in the 2008-09 season.

The Falcons season kicks off as they travel to Augsburg College on Nov. 7. Their first home game is Nov. 8 vs. St. Catherine at 2:05 p.m.

Last year the Falcons were an impressive 17-9-2, but came up short against UW-Superior in the O’Brien Cup Final where they lost 2-1 in overtime. This year, Falcon Head Coach Joe Cranston has set the bar even higher and said he is hoping for a better outcome. 

“My expectations are to win our conference and the tournament and get the bid for the NCAAs,” Cranston said.“I think it will be a three horse race again. Superior and Stevens Point will both be good again and I think Eau Claire will be much improved.”

Returning All-NCHA goaltender Cassi Campbell also said that this season could be a special one for the Falcons. 

“It’s very possible that we’re one of the strongest teams to come through this school. We have true talent in all our young players and true leadership in all the returners,” she said. 

Campbell, a sophomore, played in all 25 regular season games last season. She recorded a 1.81 goals against average and a .926 saves percentage, with three shutouts, which was tied for second in the conference. Campbell also led the conference in total saves with 377. 

After receiving a lot of playing time last year, Campbell said she realizes the steps she must take to become a better overall goalie. 

“I know what to expect this season over last season. Through that experience, I was able to learn what I need to personally work on to be the best goaltender I can be for my team,” she said.

Also returning to the Falcons this season is 2007-08 top goal scorer Jamie Briski. 

Briski, a sophomore, led the Falcons in scoring with 15 goals in 28 games. She also added 14 assists, giving her 29 points for the season, numbers Briski said she believes could go up. 

“I personally feel more confident coming into this season. With a year’s experience, I feel like I have adjusted more to the pace of college hockey and I hope it will help prepare me for this season,” Briski said. 

With goal scoring and goaltending being the strengths of the Falcons, Cranston said he has concerns that having many young players on the roster might be a possible weakness.

“One weakness might be that we are really young back on defense,” Cranston said. “Overall we are a very young team with no seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores and 10 freshmen, so we are very young, but we should be talented as well.”