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ISSUE 120 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/9/2007

Men, women make early exits: Tommies pull off mild upset to eliminate Ole women

By Matthew Stortz
Staff Writer

Friday, March 9, 2007

The St. Olaf women's hockey team fell to St. Thomas 6-2 last Friday in MIAC playoff semi-final action. The loss brings the Oles' overall record to 15-10-1 on the season.

The Oles drew first blood, opening the game with a goal near the five minute mark. Junior Laura Wild's goal, assisted by Susannah Brokl '07 and Lindsey Boeser '08, gave the Oles a one goal advantage, but the Tommies quickly responded with a goal of their own midway through the period. Another Tommy goal just 19 seconds after their first made the score 2-1 St. Thomas at the first intermission.

The second period belonged to St. Thomas, as the Tommies notched three consecutive goals, including a power play score, in a three-minute span to take a 5-1 lead. Katie Bennett '08 scored for the Oles late in the period to narrow the Tommy lead to three.

The Oles were unable to overcome the Tommy lead in the third period. The Tommies added an insurance goal midway through the period, essentially sealing the game.

Despite the disappointing playoff loss, the Oles have much to be proud of this season. The team finished second in the regular season, sweeping the talented Tommies twice in regular season play and going stride-for-stride with national powerhouses Gustavus and Bowdoin. Compared to last season, when Gustavus outscored the Oles 25-3 in three meetings, and Bowdoin won their only meeting 11-2, the Oles have demonstrated remarkable improvement.

Credit for such improvement belongs foremost to the players, four of whom earned all-MIAC honors. Brokl, Boeser and Jessica Magnuson '09 earned all-MIAC honors, while Kari McClintick '10 earned all-MIAC honorable mention and was named to the all-First-Year team.

Head coach John Bazzachini, now in his second year with the Oles, was named MIAC coach of the year by his peers. Bazzachini inherited a program in relative disarray, serving as its third coach in as many years last season. The challenges aside, the Oles are 28-23-1 under Bazzachini's leadership. The Oles have played their way to the MIAC playoff semifinals this season and last. Additionally, the Oles recorded their best finish in team history this season, finishing second in the MIAC during the regular season.

The Oles seem poised to be competitive in the MIAC next season as well. The Oles will lose Brokl to graduation, but Bennett, Magnuson, McClintick and Boeser –- - St. Olaf's all-time leading point scorer - -– will return. Additionally, the Oles should be exceptionally strong in goal next year. Goalie Shannon Herrick '09 returns to the net as St. Olaf's record holder for most wins in a season. She will share duties with Sarah Mills '10, who won 10 games in her inaugural collegiate season. With Bazzachini at the helm, Boeser, Bennett and McClintick pressuring opponents in the offensive zone, Magnuson and her defensive cohorts locking down the defensive zone, and Herrick and Mills sharing duties in net, the 2007-08 Oles have the potential to be the best Ole squad yet.

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