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UW-RF women ice NCHA regular season title

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The UW-River Falls women's hockey team rebounded handsomely from a 3-3 tie with St. Thomas last Tuesday night to capture the NCHA regular season title by outscoring Finlandia 17-2 in two blowout wins over the weekend.

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The Falcons blew out Finlandia 11-1 Saturday and followed that up with a 6-1 drubbing Sunday to wrap up the regular season NCHA crown with a league record of 13-2-1.

"We dominated both games, and it was nice to get some scoring and outscore them 17 to 2 for the weekend, picking up four points and winning the conference," Falcon head coach Joe Cranston said.

UW-RF, 15-5-3 overall, will close out the regular season this weekend with a pair of games at UW-Eau Claire (7-7-2 NCHA, 12-8-3 overall) before opening NCHA tournament play at home as the No. 1 seed Feb. 27.

Friday night in Hancock, Mich. against Finlandia, Jamie Briski and Abby Sunderman combined for six goals and two hat tricks as the Falcons romped, 11-1.

Even Cranston said it was an ugly game.

"It was very physical and ugly, but we made them pay on the scoreboard," he said.

In addition to Briski's and Sunderman's hat tricks, Jessica Thompson had a goal and three assists, Bailey Vikstrom had a goal and two assists, Katie Flanagan and Lauren Conrad had a goal and an assist each, and Emma Nordness had a goal in the 11-1 win. Stefanie Schmitz dished out four assists in the victory.

Melissa Deardorff stopped all 14 shots she faced before being replaced by Katie Kantrud midway through the second period. The Falcons outshot the Lions, 46-17.

Sunday, the Falcons trailed early, 1-0, before scoring six unanswered goals to wrap up the NCHA regular season crown.

Kayleigh Bell scored two goals for UW-RF and Nordness, Sunderman and Schmitz all had a goal and an assist while Briski also had one goal.

The Falcons crushed the Lions in shot differential, 46-11.

Between the pipes Deardorff held strong allowing the lone goal in the first period then shutting out the Lion attack.

Last Tuesday at St. Thomas, three different Falcons scored goals in a 3-3 tie with the Tommies.

"The St. Thomas game was a really fun game," Cranston said. "It was high paced."

Heather Horgan, Brittany Erickson and Briski accounted for the UW-RF scoring while Falcon goaltender Cassi Campbell made 18 saves. UW-RF held a 23-21 advantage in shots on goal.

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