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ISSUE 121 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/22/2008

After coach's bold move in goal, women split with Bethel

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, February 22, 2008

In Friday's women's hockey game, fans witnessed a highly unusual strategic move. Trailing 5-1 in a critical MIAC game, coach John Bazzachini sent out his starting line--and an extra forward. The extra forward at the opening faceoff of the period meant one thing: no goalie.

"I think [coach Bazzachini] made the decision to start the third period without a goalie to force us to play with more intensity," senior captain Katie Bennett said. "The team was ready to rise to the occasion after [Bazzachini] made the decision to go with the open net."

The bold strategy did not start well, as 45 seconds into the period the Royals scored on St. Olaf's empty net and pushed the score to 6-1. However, the women surged back and scored three unanswered goals, two of which were scored with St. Olaf's 6-5 player advantage.

Katie Iraci '11, St. Olaf's leading goal scorer, notched a power-play goal with assists going to Bennett and Taylor David '10. Melissa Sailor '09 scored the Oles' next two goals while skating with an extra attacker, drawing the score to 6-4. With just over four minutes remaining in regulation, Bethel scored again on St. Olaf's empty net. Forward Meghan Stumpf '11 tallied a third St. Olaf goal with an extra attacker with only 1:37 remaining on the clock.

In all, the women played 11:23 of the third period without a goaltender, mustering four goals on 16 shots while holding Bethel to two goals and six shots in the final frame. The game featured five variations of goals: even strength, power play, short handed, empty net and extra attacker.

Saturday saw the Oles snap their seven-game losing streak with a solid 2-1 win in Blaine, Minn. All three goals were scored in the first 10 minutes of the first period, with St. Olaf rebounding after giving up an even-strength goal 1:29 into the game.

Senior captain Laura Wild leveled the score at the 6:28 mark of the first, her third goal of the season. Bennett added to her team-leading point total after picking up her 15th assist on Wild's goal, maintaining her point-per-game average. Stumpf tallied the second assist on the play, her eighth of the season.

The McClintick twins combined to score the game-winning goal 8:51 through the first. Kim '10 found the back of the net for her ninth goal of the season after catching a pass from Kari '10. Kim and Kari have collected St. Olaf's second and fourth most points, respectively.

Corbin Ruiz '11 backstopped a stingy St. Olaf defense, turning away 22-of-23 Bethel shots in the victory. Ruiz improved her season record to 3-3 with a.877 save percentage.

St. Olaf currently sits in seventh place in the MIAC, tied with St. Mary's University.

The final regular series matches the Oles against the second-ranked Tommies. Thursday's opener at St. Thomas started after this edition went to press. Saturday's home fixture is slated to start at 7 p.m.

The team's MIAC playoff chances revolve around a number of factors across the MIAC, but rely on a sweep of St. Thomas.

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