EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — The UW-Eau Claire women's hockey team opened the 2013-2014 season Friday night against St. Scholastica (Minn.) at Hobbs Ice Center in a nonconference matchup. The two teams needed overtime, but even that was not enough, as they battled to a 2-2 tie.
The Blugolds (0-0-1) wasted little time getting on the board in the new season. Andi Husted (Jr.-Scottsdale, Ariz./Shattuck St. Mary's) found the back of the net at 1:17 on a flurry in front of the Saints (0-0-1) goaltender. Paige Dale (Fr.-Andover, Minn./Andover) and Hadley Cookson (So.-Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka) assisted on the goal.
The Saints responded at 11:25 of the first period to even things up at 1-1. Late in the period, the Blugolds faced a 5-on-3 power-play for the Saints for nearly one minute and 30 seconds. But the penalty-kill unit stood strong and killed off the power-play, giving them a lift heading into the second period.
Paige Turner (So.-Iron River, Wis./Duluth East) was a big reason the Blugolds did not find themselves trailing after the first stanza, as she made 18 saves in the period to keep it even.
In the second period, it was the Blugolds that would once again strike first. At 7:26, Nikki Kothenbeutel (Sr.-Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) scored on an assist from Mariah Czech (Fr.-Andover, Minn./Andover). But four minutes later, at 11:26, the Saints struck again to knot the game back up at 2-2.
The third period was evenly played, but at 17:20, the Saints went on a power-play looking for the go-ahead goal after a slashing penalty by Taylor Rudiger (Fr.-Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie). The Blugolds once again stood strong and killed off the penalty, forcing the game to overtime.
The extra period did not produce a winner, but UW-Eau Claire had to withstand a last-second flurry from the Saints. Turner made two big saves in the final ten seconds to preserve the tie.
Both teams finished with six penalties each and both were 0-for-3 on the power-play. Turner finished the game with 43 saves, ninth most in a single game in school history, as the Saints outshot the Blugolds 45-24.
The two teams will play again Saturday afternoon at Hobbs with the puck set to drop at 2 p.m.