Knutson Notches Game-Winner in Exciting Victory
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — In a game that had just about anything you could ask for, the UW-Eau Claire women's hockey team pulled out its first victory of the season, a 5-4 victory, over eighth-ranked UW-Superior in both teams' NCHA conference opener.
The game had several lead changes and numerous power-play opportunities for each team and even a short-handed goal for the Yellowjackets.
Stephanie Hatcher (Jr.-Burnsville, Minn./Lakeville North) kicked off the scoring at 10:29 of the first period on a shot from the blue line that somehow snuck through the goaltenders legs.
But the Yellowjackets responded at 18:42 of the first period on a short-handed goal and the teams headed to the first intermission tied 1-1. In the second, UW-Superior appeared to take control as they scored at 11:07 and 14:56 to take a 3-1 lead.
At 16:45, Tory Heller (Fr.-Cottage Grove, Minn./Hill Murray School) scored an unassisted goal to bring the Blugolds back within one heading into the second intermission.
The excitement and chaos was just getting started though as the third period began. The Yellowjackets regained a 2-goal lead at 2:13 of the third period on the first power-play goal of the game.
But the Blugolds were resilient and benefited from several UW-Superior penalties.
At 6:40, Emily Larson (Jr.-Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) pulled the Blugolds back within one on a power-play goal with assists by Sam Knutson (So.-North St. Paul, Minn./North St. Paul) and Heller. The Yellowjackets called a timeout to try and regroup, but UW-Eau Claire kept rolling.
Dani Kerr (Sr.-Little Canada, Minn./Roseville) scored on another power-play at 14:04 with assists by Heller and Knutson to tie the game at 4-4.
At 17:18, UW-Superior was whistled for a hooking penalty and the Blugolds called a timeout to set up the power-play. Just 14 seconds later, the Yellowjackets took another penalty, this time it was a cross-check.
The Blugolds were patient on the 5-on-3 power-play and were able to cash in at 18:27 when Knutson buried the game-winner on an assist by Alyssa Ahlgren (So.-Hayward, Wis./Hayward).
UW-Superior pulled their goalie with 0:30 left to play, but the Blugolds were able to hold strong in the defensive zone as they held on for the victory.
Paige Turner (Fr.-Iron River, Wis./Duluth East) made 31 saves to pick up the first victory of her collegiate career in her second start of the season.
The Yellowjackets finished with 35 shots-on-goal but racked up 11 penalties, while the Blugolds finished with 30 shots-on-goal and finished with six penalties. After a rough start on the power-play, the Blugolds finished 3-for-10 on the night.
Both teams will meet again Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at Hobbs Ice Center for the final game of the two-game series.