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For UWRF women’s hockey goalie, greater confidence means more saves

Falcon News Service

February 17, 2016

The UW-River Falls women’s hockey team has dominated the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) for three straight years now, with goaltender Angie Hall between the pipes for the Falcons the last two years as the goalie.

Last year as a freshman, Hall started 25 regular season games and all postseason contests for the Falcons, who finished third in the NCAA’s Frozen Four for the second straight year.

Hall, a native of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, was an all-conference high school goalie for her sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as captain her junior and senior years. Hall also was a semi-finalist for goalie of the year in her senior season in the state of Minnesota.

When she was younger, Hall said, she looked up to some goalies in the NHL.

“I looked up to a few when I was younger, I guess (former Colorado Avalanche goalie) Patrick Roy. I really liked him when I was younger and that is why I wear No. 33,” Hall said.

Hall was excited about the opportunity at UW-River Falls, and knew she wanted to play college hockey and got the nod very early in her freshman season. According to uwrfsports.com, after finishing the 2014-2015 season with an 85.1 save percentage, Hall has increased her current percentage to 92.5 percent this season.

Hall credits her improvement to her confidence and how she has adapted to the college game.

“The biggest difference between this year and last year is the experience, and also the confidence that I have,” she said. “I think I have been playing with more confidence and more comfortable with college play. I think that is a big thing to get used to at the college level.”

In her almost two years as the UW-River Falls goalie, Hall said that the mental side of being a goalie is arguably tougher than the physical side

“I’d say yes, it could be tougher than the physical side. Being a goalie, there are slumps, especially in high school. If you are on a team that is not so good and you are being pummeled with shots,” said Hall. “Staying positive and staying confident is important. When you let in a goal, it is easy to blame that on yourself, so it is really tough to stay mentally tough and not get so down on yourself.”

Senior Chloe Kinsel, one of Hall’s teammates and the most prolific offensive player in UW-River Falls women’s hockey history, said Hall is doing better at understanding her importance to the team this year,

“She understands the pace more and that we need her playing her best every game,” Kinsel said. “She stays stronger mentally too. I think Angie having a lot of experience last year has rolled over to this year.”

This year, the Falcons are not going into the postseason as strong as they have in the past with a 3-3 record in their last six games, and Hall said she cannot overreact to losses individually,

“It affects me when we lose,” she said. “That’s what’s tough about being a goalie, and you can have a great game and then lose by one or two goals. And that is just the way it is.

“It really comes down to bounces, too,” Hall added. “There is a lot more to it than just stats. I think I am still confident and the team is still confident.”

As the regular season wraps up, the Falcons will be the No. 1 seed in the WIAC O’Brien Cup, and will play their first game coming on Friday Feb. 26 and 27 when UW-Eau Claire comes to River Falls for the semi-finals. Hall and the Falcons have a championship on their mind this season, and for Hall, for seasons to come.

“This year, I hope to continue strong and obviously raise my save percentage, and just have fun while doing it and everyone will have fun and work hard,” she said. “Hopefully we will make it to the national tournament. Obviously in the next coming years, I want to keep making it there and win a national championship eventually, which would be like history and would be the first team to do it here.”

The selection for the women’s hockey national tournament will be released after all conference tournaments are concluded. For the WIAC, the final game is on March 5. The Falcons have won the O’Brien Cup for two straight years, and have at least competed in the O’Brien Cup final for eight straight years.