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Women’s hockey places third nationally yet again

March 25, 2015

It seems like deja vu for the UW-River Falls women’s hockey team, as the Falcons have yet again taken third place in the NCAA Frozen Four this past weekend for the second straight year.

After hosting and winning the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal against Lake Forest College out of Lake Forest, Illinois, the team packed its bags and headed off to Plattsburgh, New York, for the Frozen Four for the second straight year in a row to take on Elmira College of Elmira, New York.

The Falcons pile on each other after a big win against Lake Forest College in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal.
The Falcons pile on each other after a big win against Lake Forest College in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. (Jack Haren/Student Voice)

Going into the game, the Falcons hadn’t lost since December 10, 2014, against non-conference rival Gustavus Adolphus College of St. Peter, Minnesota, and were looking to extend its streak from 17 games to 18 against Elmira.

The first period was all Falcons, as sophomore forward Dani Sibley won the face-off in the Elmira zone at 6:37. The puck would go to senior captain defenseman Sam Greeley who ripped a slap shot past the Elmira goaltender to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

The Falcons would have the hot hand in the first, scoring its second goal at 14:36. Freshman forward Carly Moran made a nice play from behind the net, feeding the puck to Sibley who was able to bury the pass and give the Falcons a 2-0 lead.

Game play in the second period became more physical as there were six penalties between the two teams. The Falcons were able to prevent its opponents from scoring for the majority of the second period until Elmira snuck a goal past the Falcons freshman goaltender Angie Hall with one second remaining in the second period.

Going into the third, the Falcons tried to maintain the lead but struggled as an Elmira player scored the tying goal seven minutes into the third period. Elmira would score the go-ahead goal at 10:22, which would be the eventual game winner as the game finished 3-2.

Head Coach Joe Cranston was very pleased with his teams performance saying, “I’m very proud of the team and we’re going to be ready for a big game on Saturday.”

The Falcons were able to shrug off the loss on Friday to Elmira and looked to take on Norwich College out of Northfield, Vermont, for the third place game. The team was off to a hot start in the first period after Moran scored her 15th goal of the season to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

Going into the second period, Norwich was not going to back down that easily as Norwich was able to tie up the game off a deflected shot coming from the point. Norwich had the hot hand in the second period scoring two more goals, one coming from a two-on-one rush, and the other from a wrist shot in the high slot. The Falcons came back with a goal of its own from sophomore forward Emily Stark to bring the team within one at the end of the second.

Momentum in the game had shifted come the third period as the Falcons looked to make an impressive comeback to win the game. Eight minutes into the 3rd period freshman forward Amy Auran was able to make a play of her own, beating the Norwich goaltender on a move and tying the game. It was Auran’s second goal of the season coming at the most important time of the season.

The game was neck and neck until senior defenseman Kendall Evenson was able to score the game winner with just under three minutes to play. She was assisted by Sibley and Moran. The Falcons were able to hold onto the lead and win the third place title for the second straight year.

Sophomore defenseman Paige Johnson was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for her outstanding play.

“Paige was just a dominant player in the tourney,” Cranston said. She is the second player in school history to win the award, as junior forward Chloe Kinsel won the award last season.