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A Mix of the Ups and Downs

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Over the past month the Huskies have been very busy to say the least! Picking up from where I left off, we had an off weekend after our series against Mankato, which gave everyone the weekend to recharge before a few travel trips. The first of the two trips included one to Ohio State. This was the first year of my four years that we hadn’t stayed at the great Blackwell Inn, which is right across the street from the rink. A little sad, but we didn’t go there for the hotel, we went there to win hockey games.

Friday night’s contest included Ohio State jumping out to a quick two goal lead in the first period, but that’s all they would get. The Huskies scored three goals in the second period on six shots. Providence transfers Molly Illikainen and Lexi Slattery continued to lead the offense for the Huskies, as Illikainen finished the night with two goals and Slattery one. Captain Audrey Hanmer sealed the victory with an empty net goal. An impressive 4-2 win for the Huskies who were now looking for the split on Saturday. Saturday’s matchup unfortunately included no brooms. No goals were scored in the game until the second period when freshman Lauren Spring scored her first goal of her career deflecting a shot from the point past goaltender Katie Fitzgerald to take the lead 1-0. The Buckeyes were not done. In the third, while on the power play, senior Sara Schmitt took a shot from the point that found the back of the net making it 2-0. Ohio sealed the deal with an empty netter from Schmitt once again late in the third. Ohio State’s goaltender, Kassidy Sauve, proved to be too much for the Huskies as she recorded the shutout with 18 saves.

The next weekend included yet another fly trip, this time to Albany, New York to play against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The brooms finally came out this weekend, as it proved to be our first sweep of the season. We left Wednesday afternoon so that we would have time to practice and get settled Thursday, so it was a long trip, but a fun trip to say the least! After practice on Thursday we spent the day at the mall in Albany and later had a team dinner at Outback. Can’t complain about a little steak and lobster before the weekend series. We once again found ourselves in a 2-0 game in the first period on Friday night, but this time we were ahead after getting goals from Illikainen and sophomore Lauren Hespenheide. RPI quickly responded with two goals of their own to get their momentum back. With the score tied 2-2 in the second, a shorthanded breakaway by Abby Ness was all that the Huskies needed to win the game 3-2. Saturday’s game was more Illikainen and Ness as the duo both had multipoint nights in the 3-0 win. Junior Vanessa Spataro scored her first goal of the season making a nifty move through three Engineer players. Katie Fitzgerald recorded her first career shutout with eight saves! I made sure she got the puck J. We celebrated the weekend sweep with pizza, chocolate cake (thanks to our coaches) and a hockey game. We got to watch the men’s RPI team faceoff against Dartmouth! A great last outing before the weekend ended.

Within a season there are always ups and downs. This next weekend against Duluth proved to be our biggest down of the season. Our lone goal on the weekend came from who else, Molly Illikainen, scoring her eighth goal of the year. We lost Friday’s game 6-1 and Saturday’s 1-0, which proved to be a closer game, but unfortunately the same result. This was the first time this year where we had been swept by a team. We had hoped that the next weekend against Wisconsin would provide more pucks in the back of the net rather than our own, but once again, we were swept by scores of 4-0 and 3-0. It is a quick turnaround as we play Monday night against the Minnesota Gophers in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women’s Faceoff Classic at Braemar Arena in Edina! We are all excited for this opportunity and it should be a packed house at Braemar! What a cool opportunity my senior year to skate on the same ice where I played conference games in high school with former teammates Sydney Baldwin and Rachel Ramsey. Puck drops at 7 p.m. CT. See you there!

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