Women’s hockey drops NCAA semifinal, faces St. Thomas in third place game
March 21, 2014
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The UW-River Falls Falcons women’s hockey team fell 4-2 to Norwich University this evening, but still have an opportunity to make team history tomorrow afternoon in the NCAA third place game against the University of St. Thomas.
In the 15 year history of the women’s hockey team this is their third appearance in the Frozen Four but they have never won a game there finishing fourth in the two previous trips.
“It’s still a big game. We have not won a game at the Frozen Four so we are not looking at it like it doesn’t matter,” Head Coach Joe Cranston said. “We are still here at the dance and we are going to play to win the game. St Thomas will to and I have a lot of respect for their team.”
The East Region historically has had success against the West Region in Div. III women’s hockey and that showed up this evening in both NCAA semifinals game.
St. Thomas fell to Plattsburgh State in overtime despite goalie Alise Riedel recording 63 saves in the game to give them an opportunity at the upset. The 63 saves were a NCAA playoff record. The game went 75 minutes and 11 seconds before Allison Era scored a top shelf goal over Riedel’s right shoulder to win.
UWRF was overpowered from the start by Norwich allowing two first period goals. They came out in the second period and allowed two more goals going down 4-0 in the game.
“We came out slow. Give a lot of credit to Norwich because they dictated the play,” Cranston said.
UWRF did not give up and attempted to come back in the game.
Katie Batters attempted a backhand that was saved by Norwich goalie Taylor Fairchild but Chloe Kinsel was able to corral the rebound and put the puck into the back of the net for the Falcons first goal with 48 seconds left in the second period. Kinsel said after the game that it was an amazing experience getting to play in the semifinals in front of a big crowd. Batters and Kinsel are tied for most points on the team this season with 30 points each.
UWRF continued to get good looks at scoring in the third period but could not get one past Fairchild until Norwich turned the puck over right in front of the net and Dani Sibley was able to light the lamp to make it a 4-2 game with 6:19 left on the clock.
The Falcons just ran out of time and could not complete the comeback. They actually had more shots on goal in the game with 36 compared to 27 by Norwich.
“Once we got going I thought we played pretty well but overall when you look at sixty minutes of hockey the better team won tonight,” Cranston said.
Norwich improves to 27-3 on the season and will play Plattsburgh State who is now 27-1-1 and in the past 31 home games they have a 30-0-1 record. The championship game will be played at 7 p.m. EST.
UWRF drops to 22-5-3 on the season. St. Thomas is 20-6-3 on the season. The two teams played twice in the regular season. The Falcons won the first meeting 9-3 early in the season and St. Thomas won the second meeting 2-1 late in the season.
The Falcons look to bring home the first top three finish in team history tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 EST.