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Disappointing season motivates team

October 21, 2010

After a disappointing finish in the NCAA Regional Tournament last season, the UW-River Falls women’s hockey team and Head Coach Joseph Cranston said that they are more motivated than ever.

The Falcons fell in the NCAA Regional Final last season to Gustavus Adolphus in a game that would have sent them to the Frozen Four, which is comprised of final four teams remaining in the country who then compete for a national championship. Last year’s Frozen Four would have been held in River Falls for the first time in the sport’s history.

Cranston said that poor play, both offensively and defensively, and lack of preparation for the game were the deciding factors.

“We just played poorly in that game last year,” Cranston said.“It was a poor effort top to bottom.”
Cranston said that the motivation to wipe that game out and play well day in and day out this season is at the top of the coaching staff’s list.

“We need to put it in their minds that they need to be more prepared to play than they were last year,” Cranston said.

Cranston said that senior leadership is going to play a heavy factor in the success of the team. The Falcons’ roster includes six returning seniors.

“Our senior leadership is going to come through all of them,” Cranston said. “Our captains will be very important to our team this year.”

Senior Captain Jessica Thompson said that she could not be more excited to take on a new season.

“Especially after last season, I’m really looking forward to playing to our full potential this year,”  Thompson said. “I think we should be pretty well off, maybe even more so than last year.”

Thompson stressed the importance of team chemistry both on and off of the ice.

“I feel like that is one of the most important things to a successful team,” Thompson said. “So far everyone seems to be getting along really well, even the freshman.”

Thompson said that one of the challenges facing the team for the upcoming season is bearing the weight of the disappointing end to last year.

Cranston said that the team is ready to pick up where they left off last season. He said he feels confident with the depth and talent that his team brings to the table this season.

“Our greatest strength this year is going to be our depth,” Cranston said. “We have four solid lines, and there is no real difference between one and four.”

Continued offense from last year, a season that saw the team put up 105 goals, will be the signature of the Falcons’ top lines said Cranston.

“We have kids that can really put the puck in the net,” Cranston said. “This year we have some pretty good offensive power.”

New to the Falcons’ lineup this season is freshman Katelyn Batters.

Batters said that she is anxious to start the season.
“I feel like this year’s team is going to be really good,” Batters said. “Even though it is still early on, I think we will have a lot of fun.”

Batters said that a number of things influenced her to come to UWRF.

“I toured here last year and loved the campus and the town,” she said. “I also knew how good the team was going to be, so that was a huge part of it.”

The Falcons open their season Oct. 30 when they host the Pembina Valley Hawks in an exhibition game at Hunt Arena. The regular season home-opener is set for Nov. 19 when the Falcons take on Lake Forest College.