MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. - Trailing UW-River Falls 3-0 at the halfway point of the second period, the St. Thomas women's hockey team came back to score twice before the second period ended and take momentum into the second intermission trailing 3-2 on Wednesday night at the Saint Thomas Ice Arena.
However, the comeback was not to be, as the third period came and went without a goal from either side in the one-goal loss, which drops the Tommies to 8-3-1 on the year. The Falcons improve to 7-4-1 and sweep the season series between these two teams following a 6-2 win on November 14.
Maddy Illikainen got the scoring going for UW-River Falls in the opening period on Wednesday night. Illikainen scored at the 10:55 mark of the first period with an assist to Jamie Bird to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead headed to the first intermission. River Falls outshot the Tommies 12-3 in the first period.
After Callie Hoff and Carly Moran put the Falcons on top 3-0 midway through the second period, the tides began to turn in favor of the Purple. Senior captain Kaylee Druk was the spark, scoring back-to-back goals in a five minute span to bring the Tommies within one headed to the break. Druk's first goal was assisted by Allie Borgstrom and maddy Fiedler, while her second featured assists from Rylie McDonell and Rachel Werdin. The goals served as her second and third scores of the season.
It was not only the score that tightened in the second period: the shot count did as well. Following the 12-3 disadvantage in the first period, the Purple outgunned the Falcons 12-9 in the second period to bring the game total to 21-15 in favor of River Falls.
But the momentum was stunted in the third period, as each team went scoreless. The best chance for the Tommies came in the fifth minute of the final frame when Izzy Brosseau took a penalty for the Falcons, giving St. Thomas a power play, but it could not take advantage as the Tommies finished the night 0-for-4 with the skater advantage.
The final shot totals came out to a 32-23 edge for the Falcons. St. Thomas goaltender Kenzie Torpy saved 29 of the 32 shots in the loss. She drops to 7-3-1 on the year, while Angie Hall stopped 21 of 23 shots to collect her fourth win of the season for River Falls.
St. Thomas will now take some time off heading into the holiday break. The Tommies will not play again until the new year. They open 2018 with a game on the road at St. Scholastica on Saturday, Jan. 6.