Late surge isn't enough, Yellowjackets swept by Falcons
River Falls 2, Yellowjackets 1
After Friday's loss to UW-River Falls, the Yellowjackets were given one directive from their coaching staff for Saturday night. Get more pucks to the net, especially on the power play, but overall just get more pucks to the net. They did that and then some, however, they had some difficulty solving Falcons goaltender Scott Lewan. The sophomore from Westland, Mich. made 39 saves, making sure two second period goals stood up and River Falls escaped Superior with a 2-1 win and a series sweep on Saturday night.
For the Yellowjackets, the struggles on home ice continue. In 2008-09, the Yellowjackets entered the Peters Cup finals against UW-Stout with a 13-0-2 record at home. They lost that game, and lost the next week to Gustavus, a game also played at Wessman Arena. Since that time, the Yellowjackets are a pedestrian 15-16-3 on home ice. Not exactly friendly confines.
Following a scoreless first period, the Falcons opened the scoring midway through the second period. Jeff Burke fired a puck from the right point toward the front of the net and Adam Cardwell was on the doorstep, deflecting the puck past Drew Strandberg (Thunder Bay, Ontario/Westgate CV&I) to make it 1-0 at 9:14. A few minutes later, Jon Schreiner sidestepped an attempted blocked shot and ripped a shot that eluded Strandberg to make it 2-0 River Falls at 14:31. The score would stay that way until midway through the third period when the Yellowjackets finally broke the shutout. Jeff Forsythe (Campbell River, British Columbia/Timberline Secondary) carried into the River Falls' zone on the right and let a shot go that Lewan stopped. The rebound came back to him, and the sophomore from Campbell River, British Columbia snuck it past Lewan to make it 2-1. The shorthanded marker came at 8:10. Joey Massingham (Duncan, British Columbia/Cowichan Secondary) assisted on Forsythe's fourth goal of the year. The goal was also the fourth shorthanded goal of the season for the Yellowjackets.
Moments after Forsythe scored, he nearly tied the game. Coming into the River Falls zone on the left, Forsythe slipped by a defender and going against the grain, slid a backhand shot past Lewan, but the puck hit the post and caromed into the corner. The Yellowjackets continued to apply relentless pressure, but were unable to solve Lewan a second time. Following a pair of timeouts with 8.2 seconds left, the Falcons won the faceoff and iced the puck, bringing the game to a close and giving the Falcons their eighth win of the year. They leave Superior 8-0-2.
Lewan was the story of the game, finishing with 39 stops, while Strandberg was also strong again, making 18 saves for the Yellowjackets.
The Yellowjackets took five penalties for 21 minutes, a total padded by Kyle Leahy (Fort St. John, British Columbia/North Peace Secondary) being whistled for checking from behind as time expired in the third period. River Falls, meanwhile, took four penalties for eight minutes. Neither team was able to convert on the power play, the Yellowjackets going 0-2 and the Falcons 0-1.
The Yellowjackets (5-4-2, 3-3-2 NCHA) will close out the 2011 portion of their schedule with a non-conference series at home next weekend against Finlandia University. Game time on Friday, December 9 will be 7:05 p.m. and can be heard live locally on 91.3 FM KUWS, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. If you are outside the local listening area you can tune in on the web at www.ifan.tv. You can also watch the game live on pay-per-view through UW-Superior's online video streaming partner, AmericaOne. Jon Garver will have the call of the game on all broadcasts.