MEQUON, Wis. – After a month layoff from competition, Concordia University Wisconsin's women's hockey team returns to action with three-consecutive, non-conference games in a four-day span beginning on Thursday. The Falcons travel to the College of St. Benedict for a 7 p.m. contest on Thursday before playing back-to-back days on Jan. 12-13 at St. Catherine University (4 p.m.) and Hamline University (2 p.m.).
The youthful Falcons – 20 players are underclassmen – have struggled to find their identity during the first half of the season. CUW has been and will continue to work on its defense and power-play offense, which will eventually add more victories to their record as the season progresses.
Below are a few notes from the first 13 games and looking ahead at the remaining games on the schedule.
GAMES REMAINING: If CUW is going to make a run at an above .500 record and a spot in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament, the remaining games look favorable. Of the 12 games to play, just two opponents have a winning record (St. Catherine University is 7-4-0 and No. 9-ranked Adrian College is 12-3-0). The combined record for the eight opponents is 44-37-14 (.463), which gives the Falcons many opportunities to put together a winning streak.
WINNING IN JANUARY: During the Falcons five seasons they have earned 16 victories in the month of January, more than any other month, and nearly half of the program's 35 total victories. During the 2010-11 campaign, they finished with a 6-1-1 record during the opening month on the calendar. In the six victories in 10-11 they outscored their opponents by a 34-13 margin. CUW scored a combined 16 goals in victories over Finlandia University (8-1) and Marian University (8-2) on Jan. 15 and 19, respectively.
OFFENSIVE LEADER: Chelsea Regan is a rookie, but has played better than a first-year skater. She leads the team with seven points (three goals and four assists) and has appeared in all 13 games, and tallied a point in six contests. The Oakdale, Minn., defender ranks 36th nationally in points per game among defensemen (0.54) and 50th among rookies.
POWER-PLAY STRUGGLES: CUW has converted on just 8-of-62 (.129) power-play chances this season, which ranks 29th nationally and seventh in the NCHA. The Falcons 62 power-play opportunities are the seventh most nationally among teams ranked in power-play percentage.
CAREER FIRSTS: Every season someone will get their first goal or first assist. That is and will be the case for much of this season, mostly because there are 10 freshmen on the roster and 20 players who are underclassmen. A total of six players have found the back of the net for the first time this season (Alexis Machuga, Michelle Musil, Katherine Pauletti, Chelsea Regan, Olivia Vogel, Hannah Zobel), while five have assisted on a marker for the first time (Jenna Brown, Jayda Hoerres, Alexis Machuga, Michelle Musil, Katherine Pauletti).
EVANS SECURES GOALKEEPING: Head coach Jim Ingman entered the season with four sophomore goalkeepers who saw action last season. He was hoping that one would emerge as the leader between the pipes and Kaitlyn Evans has done just that. The Fairbanks, Alaska native has saved 243 shots or 89.3 percent of the shots on goal against. She has made at least 20 saves in eight contests and saved 52 shots – second best in program history – in a 4-4 tie at the College of St. Scholastica on Nov. 2. Last season she played just five games due to a knee injury that ended her season early.
LISTEN UP: CUW enters the season with senior Sara Cole as the team captain. She will be assisted by junior Maxine Blohowiak and sophomore Elizabeth Otto to lead the Falcons during the 2012-13 season. Last season Cole was a co-captain for the Falcons.