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Women’s hockey team clinches another WIAC regular season title

February 11, 2015

The UW-River Falls women’s hockey team had a satisfying weekend as the Falcons clinched its second-straight WIAC title with a 5-2 win over the UW-Superior Yellowjackets on Saturday, Feb. 7.

The Falcons then, following a 1-0 win over Lake Forest College, hosted an event called “Skate with the Falcons” on Sunday, Feb. 8, where the youth of the River Falls community was able to skate with one of the best Div. III women’s hockey teams in the country.

In the 5-2 win over Superior, sophomore forward Dani Sibley finished with two goals, while sophomore forward Brianna Breiland, freshman forward Carly Moran, and senior captain forward Alice Cranston all scored once. Freshman goaltender Angie Hall finished with 19 saves on Saturday night. The win over Superior catapulted its WIAC record to 8-1-1.

“There are only four points left to be gained and we are five points in the lead once we beat Superior, so we clinched first place and won the regular season WIAC, which is great,” said Head Coach Joe Cranston. “That’s huge and that means we are at home for the playoffs and we are kind of used to that, but it’s a big accomplishment I think, especially with the short roster we had this year, and the young goaltending and some of those issues, that I am pretty proud of the girls.”

UWRF and Lake Forest met on March 15, 2014, in the NCAA National Quarterfinal where the Falcons won 4-1. The only goal of Sunday’s game came from freshman forward Dani Kocina with an assist from Sibley. Hall made 16 saves and earned her first career shutout in a Falcon uniform.

“Skating with the kids is always fun because it’s not just kids, you get their parents out there, you get the families, you have our families out there which is nice,” said junior defenseman Dani Buehrer. “We had peoples little brothers and sisters out there skating with us, so that is kinda cool because you don’t really get to meet their families like in high school, you know everybody and you know their families. So this is a chance to get to know everybody’s families and then to bring in people from the community so they feel like they are kinda a part of what we have going on with our community at the rink.”

While the Falcons have clinched its fifth consecutive regular season conference title (with the 2011, 2012 and 2013 titles coming in the NCHA), it doesn’t mean the Falcons aren’t still fighting. The team is also looking to get back to the national tournament where the Falcons placed third last year after beating the University of Saint Thomas 5-3. The Falcons don’t get an automatic bid, so the team has to keep winning and hope to get an at-large bid.

“Our season is going really well, we’re 18-3-1, which is awesome, because we have a young team, so it’s important that we win big games,” Sibley said. “Hopefully we can make it back to nationals, but we don’t get an automatic bid, so we have to keep winning our last three games this season. I think our team has come a long ways from the start of the season; we kinda started off shaky but we made a lot of progress and we’re ending strong.”

The Falcons defeated the St. Catherine University Wildcats 5-0 on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Hunt Arena, to improve to 19-3-1 on the season. Sibley scored twice, adding an assist, in the win. Junior forward Chloe Kinsel scored two goals of her own on Wednesday night. Sophomore All-WIAC defenseman Paige Johnson, meanwhile, earned three assists for the Falcons.

The Falcons face-off against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.