UWRF Women's Hockey opens season 4-0
November 12, 2023
UWRF Women's Hockey opened their 2023 season 4-0, winning two on the road and two at Hunt Arena.
The Falcons won the WIAC tournament last season, beating UW-Eau Claire 5-1 in the championship game. Their regular season record of 21-3-1 was also the best in the conference.
The Falcons were ultimately selected to compete in the national Division Three tournament last season. They would lose in the quarterfinals to Gustavus Adolphus. This marked the second straight year that the Gusties had knocked the Falcons out of the national tournament.
Through four games this season, the Falcons retained their high-powered offense and outscored their first four opponents 19-3.
Forward Maddie McCollins returned for the Falcons this year. McCollins led the team in scoring last season, with twenty-eight goals. "She brings a whole other level to our team," said Head Coach Joe Cranston. Through four games, she has two goals, both coming against St. Scholastica. Cranston also returned for the Falcons, now in his 25th season with the program. UWRF has not had a losing season since 2000.
As for the Falcon defense, the team lost goalie Sami Miller after last season's playoff loss to Gustavus Adolphus. Jordan O'Connor is the current starter, and a goalie Coach Cranston feels good about. O'Connor played much of the 2020 season and has seen moderate playing time in the past few years.
Through four games, she's given up only three goals and has 79 saves. She is backed up by sophomore Jordan O'Kane and freshman Anna Rader.
Forwards Megan Goodreau and Alex Hantge have been efficient scorers early this season. Goodreau has three goals on 13 shots, and Hantge has four goals on only 11 shots.
Though the Falcon's hot start is to be expected, their win against Augsburg University on Oct. 28 helped alleviate some demons from last season. In 2022, River Falls hosted Augsburg in their season opener. Despite going up 2-0, the Falcons blew the lead and lost 3-4. This was their first loss to the Auggies since 2004.
This season, UWRF hosted Augsburg in game two. River Falls went down 0-1 in the first period but scored three unanswered goals to win 3-1. The Falcon's next three matchups all feature opponents from the WIAC. They'll face UW-Stevens Point, Northland College, and UW-Eau Claire. The Falcons are currently on a nineteen-game win streak against UW-Stevens Point and are 19-0 all-time against Northland.
Last season, River Falls went 10-1-1 in the conference, with their only loss coming on the road against UW-Eau Claire. UWRF will travel to UWEC on November 18, hoping to reverse last year's road loss.