EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire women's hockey team started the New Year right with a 5-2 victory over St. Olaf College (Minn.) at Hobbs Ice Center tonight.
St. Olaf started the game well with six shots, three on-goal, in the first four minutes. But Amanda Kane (Jr.-Maplewood, Minn./North St. Paul) took the Blugolds' first shot of the game from the blue line and sent it by the goalie to put Eau Claire on the board five minutes into the contest.
The two teams combined for four goals in the second period. Less than five minutes in, St. Olaf's Margot Fleming scored to tie the game but Paige Dale (Fr.-Andover, Minn.) answered 22 seconds later to give the Blugolds a one-goal lead again.
Then just over five minutes later, Claudia Gagnon (Fr.-Duluth, Minn./East) scored her first collegiate goal to put the Blugolds back up by two. But 47 seconds before the buzzer, Fleming scored again for the Oles on a power-play to cut Eau Claire's lead back to one goal.
In the third period, a power-play goal from Ashley Baugher (So.-Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) just 1:49 into the period pushed the Blugolds' lead back to two.
Nikki Kothenbeutel (Sr.-Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) put the exclamation point on the game by scoring an empty-net goal at 18:11. St. Olaf pulled its goalie with 4:19 remaining in the contest and the Blugolds capitalized.
Paige Turner (So.-Iron River, Wis./Duluth East) started the game for Eau Claire in-goal and stopped seven shots while playing 20 minutes. Kim Van Brunt (So.-Eagle River, Wis./Northland Pines) played the final 40 minutes and made 22 saves while allowing two goals. Van Brunt earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the season.
The Oles outshot the Blugolds 31-20. The Blugolds had nine penalties while the Oles committed five. Eau Claire was 1-for-3 on power-plays while St. Olaf was 1-for-7.
Eau Claire improves to 2-9-2 on the season while St. Olaf drops to 2-9. The win was the Blugolds' first since Nov. 8.
Saturday, the teams will play again, this time in Northfield, Minn. Action is set to get underway at 3 p.m.