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Opinion

Men’s and women’s hockey teams off to good starts

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November 13, 2009

The 2008-09 season for the men’s hockey team was a forgetful one. It all started from the first game of the season when they tied to a very beatable Marian team.

The Falcons went winless in their first four games (0-3-1) and had one victory in their first eight games (1-6-1). Their best stretch was from Nov. 25 to Jan. 9 when they won seven of the eight games. But right after that the Falcons went into another cold streak winning only twice in their last eleven games (2-8-1). The Falcons finished with a 4-9-1 conference record and a 10-15-2 overall record and had their worst season since the 1991-92 when they went 6-17-1.

This year, however, is a completely different story. The Falcons have a 4-1 overall record. They started off the season against a non-conference opponent, the Concordia (Wis.) Falcons, winning easily 10-1. Ten different Falcon players scored a goal.

The following weekend, the Falcons traveled up to UW-Superior and stole two victories away from last year’s regular season conference champs. This past weekend, the Falcons hosted two teams from the MIAC conference. Friday night the Falcons faced off against Gustavus Adolphus who made it to the NCAA championship game last year. The Falcons lost 3-2 in a game where the Gustavus looked to have the more experience in close games.

Saturday night, the Falcons bounced back beating Augsburg 1-0 in a battle between the goalies. Falcon goaltender Bo Storozuk got his first shutout of the year saving all 34 shots he faced. Auggie goaltender Jon Zitur gave up the one goal in the first period and had 23 saves on the night.

The next two weekends coming up the Falcons will be tough conference tests for the Falcons. This upcoming weekend, the Falcons will travel to Wisc.-Eau Claire, who just beat both Gustavus Adolphus and Augsburg last weekend. Next weekend, the Falcons will host St. Norbert who is currently ranked number one in the nation in Div. III college hockey.

The 2008-09 season for the women’s hockey team was very successful, but also left them hungry for more. The team finished with a 15-2-1 conference record and a 20-7-3 overall record. The team started off strong winning their first seven of eight games (7-1-0) and also finished the regular season strong winning seven of eight 7-0-1).

The Falcons won the NCHA tournament beating Lake Forest in the semi-finals and UW-Stevens Point in the championship. The Falcons earned a bid into the NCAA tournament where they beat Gustavus Adolphus in the first round. The Falcons lost both games in the frozen four losing to Elmira in the semi-finals and Middlebury in the third-place game and took fourth place in the tournament. The team enters this season with high expectations and another chance at the frozen four.

Last weekend opened up the 2009-10 campaign for the women’s hockey team. They traveled to St. Thomas on Friday night, leaving with a 1-0 victory. On Saturday, the Falcons hosted Augsburg winning 5-0. Junior goaltender Cassi Campbell had a 41-save shutout against St. Thomas on Friday night. Sophomore goaltender Melissa Deardorff also completed a shutout saving 17 shots against Augsburg on Saturday night.

This weekend will be another huge early test for the Falcons as they host Gustavus Adolphus Friday night. Gustavus is ranked second in the nation for Women’s Division III college hockey. On Saturday night the Falcons will wrap up the weekend hosting Bethel. The Falcons then host conference rival Superior the following weekend. 

Derek Johnson is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.