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Falcons finish strong season 24-2-4

March 24, 2011

The UW-River Falls women’s hockey team saw their season slip away on March 12 when the Falcons lost to Gustavus Adolphus in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Falcons entered the tournament coming off of their only loss of the season, a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Adrian College in the championship game of the O’Brien Cup Playoffs.

While he said the loss was disappointing, Head Coach Joe Cranston stressed that the season as a whole could not have gone better.

“I am super excited and proud of this year,” Cranston said. “If you look at it, we broke every record there is, from the most wins all the way down to power-play percentage.”

Cranston said that the emphasis and pressure of carrying an undefeated record for the majority of the season was something that could have been reversed very easily.

“Even though we lost our last two games, we could have lost six or seven games during the year,” Cranston said. “Maybe then people would not have been putting so much emphasis on the last two games.”

Cranston said that the loss to Gustavus this year actually pointed out some positive things about the team.

“A year ago when we played Gustavus, we just played bad,” Cranston said. “That was not the case this year; we did a number of good things and it was great to end on the note that we know we can dominate a hockey game.”

Junior forward Katie Flanagan said that the year was a huge success, stressing the fact that the Falcons could have lost a number of games along the way.

“We had a lot of close games this year,” Flanagan said. “We had games where we had to come from behind just to force an overtime tie.”

Flanagan said that mistakes ultimately ended the Falcons run for a national title.

“The Gustavus game obviously did not go the way we wanted it too,” Flanagan said. “They capitalized on our mistakes and the better team won.”

Cranston said that the future looks bright for the Falcons, adding that incoming freshman will play a huge role.

“We are going to have a lot of new faces next year,” Cranston said. “Anywhere from seven to nine new faces are going to make us a completely different team.”

Cranston added that the return of a handful of talented juniors would only add to the strength of the team.

“We return three out of our four goalies which will be great.” Cranston said. “We also will have three veterans on defense and a couple of strong freshman coming in that will help a lot.”

Both Flanagan and Cranston said that the season was something to build on and be proud of.

“It was a great season,” Flanagan said. “I could not ask for more, and I am looking forward to making a run at it again next year.”

“I am not concerned with the two losses at the end of the year,” Cranston said. “I am more concerned with the big picture and what a fantastic year we had.”

The Falcons finished their 2010-2011 season with a record of 24-2-4.