Lions take early lead, fall late to Falcons, 3-1
HANCOCK — Finlandia Lions women’s hockey coach Matt Marchel was extremely frustrated after his team’s 3-1 loss to the Concordia Falcons Friday afternoon at the Houghton County Arena.
He spent several seconds after addressing his squad venting his frustration as best he could, but admittedly, it was not easy for him to let the loss go.
His anger was not directed as anything his players did specifically, but rather at the fact that his team gave a very solid effort, but were not rewarded for their efforts with a win.
He was not wrong in his quick assessment.
The Lions held a 1-0 lead after one period. They were tied 1-1 after two. They got 20 shots on goal in the contest and even carried through some significant offensive zone time in the first and third periods.
“It was a really good first period,” said Marchel. “We were great on the forecheck. We had the puck in their zone a lot.
It was a good game. I wish that it could have ended differently.”
Defensively, the Lions were nearly as good. They reduced the volume of work that junior goaltender Annah Smiddy saw, keeping scoring opportunities for the Falcons to a minimum as she only had to make 33 stops over the course of 60 minutes of work.
On top of those positives, junior winger Kait Ryynanen returned to the lineup and picked up a point on the Lions’ first period tally.
She went to the left boards when senior center Natasha Kern crashed the boards below the left circle. Ryynanen called for the puck, got it from Kern and fired a quick shot on goal. The shot rebounded out front off the leg pad of Falcons goaltender Christina Pattengale, right to where senior forward Sarah Hockings was able to bury it at 17:54.
It was the kind of play that Marchel has been trying to get his team to execute all season.
“That’s the exact play,” Marchel said. “Get it with speed, draw people to you, dish it back, and then Ryynanen made the right play to get it on goal and then stuck with it, (and) got it to Hockings in front.
“You go to the front of the net and make the plays you need to make. You do things right and it works out for you the right way.”
Unfortunately for the hosts, that was all the offense they could muster as the Falcons evened things just 56 seconds into the middle frame off a shot from Natasha Wanless on the power play.
Things remained even until the third period, where the Falcons got another early power play marker. With a defender draped all over her, Wanless again found a way, while falling, to lift a rebound chance over Smiddy’s glove to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead 1:37 in.
Concordia then added an insurance marker at 16:14 when Ally Hull took a puck that spun off a Lions’ defender’s pad and knocked it home.
For Marchel, it was very to hard to swallow the fact that this was a game that got away.
“Their power play isn’t anything special,” said Marchel. “It just got to us. They can bury pucks. They know what they are doing.”
The teams meet again Saturday at 2:15 p.m. at the Houghton County Arena.
Concordia 0 1 2 – 3
Finlandia 1 0 0 – 1
1, FU, Sarah Hockings (Kait Ryynanen, Natasha Kern), 17:54
2, CUW, Natasha Wanless (Emily Godwin, Kristen Kennedy), PP, :56
3, CUW, Wanless (Ellie Woodman), PP, 1:37
4, CUW, Ally Hull (Woodman), 16:14
CUW, Pattengale 8 7 4 – 19
FU, Smiddy 12 7 14 – 33
CU: 2/4; FU: 0/2
CU: 3/6; FU: 4/8