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UWRF men’s hockey ties with Hamline in overtime

December 9, 2015

The UWRF men’s hockey team played strong throughout the game, but could only manage a 3-3 tie against the Hamline Pipers on Tuesday night.

This comes after a huge week for UWRF, where they took down two top-10 ranked teams in UW-Stevens Point and UW-Eau Claire. The Falcons were hoping to stretch that lead to three games when the Pipers came to Hunt Arena for the second time this season, falling to the Falcons 3-1 on Nov. 12.

The Pipers came out in control early, looking like the more aggressive team and holding possession of the puck for most of the first seven minutes of the game. But the Falcons finally pushed through at 8:57 in the first period, when senior Mike Williams netted his first goal of the season to put the Falcons up 1-0 and completely swing the momentum.

Hamline took it back late in the first, when two Falcon penalties gave Hamline a two man advantage on the power play. It didn’t take long for Hamline to capitalize, with Charlie Adams scoring his first goal of the night to tie the game at 1-1 at 16:41 in the first period.

The Falcons grabbed back the lead in the closing minute of the first period on freshman Eddie Matsushima’s second goal of the year. Kyle Gattelaro set up the goal and put the Falcons ahead 2-1 going into the first intermission.

What the second period lacked in goals it made up for in aggressiveness and chippy play. Officials were having to break up players left and right and stop a few potential fights. This type of play led to two Piper penalties for holding and cross-checking. The Falcons couldn’t capitalize on either opportunity, and also had a shot go off the top of the bar early in the period.

“We took some undisciplined penalties that hurts us. We lacked a bit of intensity and that made our play a lot more inconsistent than usual,” Head Coach Steve Freeman said.

Hamline still managed a 15-5 shot advantage in the period and wouldn’t give anything up when they were facing the Falcon’s power plays. The score remained 2-1 going into the decisive third period.

The third period was as action-packed as one could hope for, and the Falcons managed to strike first. Freshman Joe Drapluk put a shot past goalie Justin Quale for his third goal of the season to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead with 16 minutes remaining.

Most probably thought the game was over, but Hamline continued to pressure goalie Tanner Milliron throughout the early stages of the third period. They broke through only two minutes after Drapluk’s goal with Charlie Adams’ second goal of the day on a beautiful setup from Brandon Zurn. Adams’ tenth goal of the season brought the Pipers within one only 7:19 into the third period.

A holding call on Eddie Matsushima at 11:33 allowed Hamline to go on the offensive on another power play. This one they converted on at 12:47 with a Jesse Kessler goal from Zurn. Zurn assisted on all three goals for the Pipers.

Both teams had multiple opportunities down the stretch and in overtime, but neither could capitalize on penalties. The Falcons only finished 1-6 on power plays on the night and couldn’t finish on either of Hamline’s two penalties in overtime.
“We weren’t able to shut down two of the top scorers in the nation, and they really beat us on special teams,” Freeman said.

With the tie the Falcons now stand at 5-4-2 on the season. The number fifteen overall Falcons now look to return to their consistent play as their six game home stand continues. Freeman hopes they can, “Elevate their competition against unranked teams to the same level when they play ranked teams like UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stevens Point. Because if they do that, they can be one of the top teams in the country.”

The Falcons next host Finlandia University at Hunt Arena on Friday, Dec. 11. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.