EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – For the second straight game, the UW-Eau Claire women's hockey team struck first, but like Saturday against St. Mary's (Minn.), that was all they would get. This time, it was St. Thomas (Minn.) that scored three unanswered goals to hand the Blugolds a 3-1 loss Tuesday night at Hobbs Ice Center.
The Tommies (7-3-2) controlled the play early, holding the Blugolds (3-12-2) to just one shot through much of the period. But at 16:18, the Tommies were whistled for their first penalty of the night and the Blugolds struck on the power-play. Paige Dale (Fr.-Andover, Minn./Andover) picked up her third goal of the season on a deflection in front of the net. Mariah Czech (Fr.-Andover, Minn./Andover) and Amanda Kane (Jr.-Maplewood, Minn./North St. Paul) assisted on the goal.
The Blugolds controlled much of the play the rest of the way and carried momentum into the first intermission. Paige Turner (So.-Iron River, Wis./Duluth East) made several key saves in the first period and early in the second to keep the Blugolds ahead.
But at 10:49 the Tommies finally solved Turner and tied the game up at 1-1. It looked like it would stay that way heading into the second intermission, but at 18:40, St. Thomas struck again to take a 2-1 lead into the third period.
The key point in the third period came at the 7:52 mark, when the Tommies were whistled for two penalties to give the Blugolds a 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes. UW-Eau Claire struggled to get control of the puck in the offensive zone though, and they were only able to get off a few quality shots. The Tommies killed the penalties and took the momentum through much of the rest of the period.
At 16:27, the Blugolds were given another chance when the Tommies were whistled for another penalty. The Blugolds called timeout to set up a play and they were able to get a few shots off from outside but they could not put home the rebound and the Tommies killed off another key penalty.
With just over a minute left in the game, the Blugolds tried to get Turner off for an extra attacker, but the Tommies got control of the puck and forced Turner to stay in the net. The Tommies kept the play in the Blugolds' defensive zone and were able to put the game away at 19:16 with the final goal of the night.
Turner was busy once again, as she finished with 37 saves on 40 shots. The Blugolds finished with 26 shots on goal. The Tommies had six penalties for 12 minutes while the Blugolds had just three for six minutes. The Blugolds got the lone power-play goal, finishing 1-for-5 on the power-play.
UW-Eau Claire is off now until Friday Jan. 24 when they travel to Superior for a WIAC tilt. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m .They two teams will then meet again on Saturday in Eau Claire for an afternoon game at 2 p.m. at Hobbs Ice Center.