FU women’s hockey looking forward to showdown with St. Norbert

HANCOCK — While last weekend did not quite end the way that head coach Matt Marchel wanted it to, the Finlandia Lions women’s hockey team did come away from their long road trip to Trine with a split. The Lions took the opener 2-0 on Friday before falling 5-1 on Saturday.

It was the tale of two games for the Lions.

With the win on Friday, the Lions earned their first victory of the season, something that did not occur last season until they faced St. Norbert on Feb. 11 in their 23rd game of the season.

“We know we have what it takes to put a winner out there,” said Marchel. “It didn’t carry over to Saturday, but it is huge. This culture is changing right here.”

The two goals the Lions scored in their win came off the sticks of freshman forwards in Hannah Tormanen and Kaytlin Richardson, both scoring their first career goals.

Sophomore goaltender Annah Smiddy racked up 51 saves en route to the shutout, including 22 in the opening frame.

On Saturday, the Thunder jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the first period ended and never really looked back. Trine’s goals were all scored in close to Smiddy, exposing an area of the game that Marchel worked on this week with his team’s defense in an attempt to shore it up before facing St. Norbert.

“All five goals were greasy goals,” said Marchel. “We didn’t clear the front of the net and it showed five times… We have to get tougher.”

With the Green Knights coming to town this weekend to face the Lions, Finlandia’s local natives, freshman forward Melody Anderson (Hancock) and junior defenseman Sarah Hockings (Baraga), have spent the week working to get their teammates excited to face the four St. Norbert girls with local ties.

Senior Lexi Pyykonen (South Range), senior Kenna Farrey (Houghton), senior Selena Stromer (Laurium) and junior Jessica Schlaff (Atlantic Mine) all return to the Houghton County Arena for the first time since February.

Stromer and Farrey have both started strong, each notching four points through their first four games. Schlaff has three points and Pyykonen has two through four games as well.

With the win by the Lions last season, a friendly rivalry is brewing, and Marchel is happy to see his team getting excited by what is developing.

“They have a bunch of Yoopers on that team,” said Marchel. “The rivalry is there. Last year’s win will build some confidence in that direction. There is no reason not to be confident.”

GAME TIMES

Today’s game is at 2 p.m. Saturday’s game will have a 12:30 p.m. start time.

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