EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (12/14/19)---Concordia continued its season-long theme of playing well on Saturday as they battled No.5-ranked Wis.-Eau Claire all the way to the wire before losing 4-3.
The Cobbers were 3-1-0 in games played on a Saturday in 2019 and they stayed hot against the Blugolds. Concordia took a 1-0 lead in the opening period, a 2-1 lead in the second and then nearly rebounded from a 4-2 deficit late in the third.
The loss drops Concordia to 4-7-0 on the season as they enter the Christmas break. Eau Claire wins for the seventh time in the last nine games and improves to 10-2-1.
The only truly negative thing that came out of the game where the Cobbers went back-and-forth with a Top 5 team in Division III was that head coach Mo Greiner was hit in the head with a puck during the first period. The puck was deflected by a Blugold player just in front of the Concordia bench which left no time for Greiner to react and left a gash on the top of her head which the Blugold training staff ably closed up.
While Friday's 3-0 loss was highlighted by the goaltending of freshman Kiana Flaig, Saturday's contest was spotlighted by the offense. The Cobbers scored more than two goals for the first time in six games and continually kept the pressure on the Blugold goal.
The Cobbers opened the scoring thanks to an unlikely goal-scoring threat. Sophomore defenseman Allison O'Kane notched her first college goal when she found the back of the net on a power play goal at 10:49. Libby Hinrichs and Ally Wiitala had the assists on the goal and all three players would go on to finish with a nugget and a helper in the game.
Eau Claire tied the game at 1-1 at the 14:48 mark of the first period and the teams skated to the first intermission deadlocked at 1-1.
The teams would once again trade goals in the middle period. Hinrichs gave the Cobbers a 2-1 lead with an unassisted goal at 3:53. The Blugolds would then tie the game on a power play at 8:15.
Eau Claire ended the back-and-forth goal theme when they scored back-to-back goals in the first 15 minutes of the third period. They broked the 2-2 tie with a goal at 1:26 and then got the eventual game winner at 14:39.
Wiitala would then push the game into full drama mode when she scored on the power play at 18:19 to bring CC within one goal at 4-3. O'Kane and Amanda Flemming were credited with the assists as Wiitala picked up her team-leading fourth goal and sixth point of the season.
Concordia was able to come up with one last shot on goal even after they were whistled for a penalty with 53-seconds left in regulation. Maiah McCowan had a look at the net at the 19:20 mark but her shot was turned aside by the Blugold goalie.
The Cobbers were outshot 33-18 in the game. Concordia had five players with two shots each in the contest.
Flaig continued her stellar play in goal. She stopped 29 shots and finished with 74 saves in the two games. She now has 145 saves on the season which leads the MIAC.
UP NEXT: Concordia, and head their head coach, will get a much-needed 3-week break for the Christmas holiday. The Cobbers will return to action when they host Wis.-River Falls in a 2-game series on Jan. 3-4. The Falcons are ranked seventh in the latest USCHO Divison III poll and are 7-3-1 on the year.
Saturday recaps sponsored by Bufffalo Wild Wings: Grab your friends and get to B-Dubs on Sunday nights for College Nights at 9 p.m. 50% off 1 food item with ID and $3 apps at the Buffalo Wild Wings located on Hwy 10 in Moorhead.