Women’s hockey celebrates senior night with 2 game sweep over Falcons

NMU women’s club hockey nears playoff season, celebrating senior night with a weekend sweep.
SENIOR SWEEP — Wildcat senior Chloe Valente brings her goal count to 21 on the season.
SENIOR SWEEP — Wildcat senior Chloe Valente brings her goal count to 21 on the season.
Caden Sierra

Last weekend the Wildcats women’s club hockey team faced the Bowling Green State Falcons at home, completing a 2-0 sweep improving the teams overall record to 7-6-1 on the season. The Wildcats currently sit in sixth place with a .500-win percentage currently placing themselves in a playoff spot in the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association (CCWHA) WD2 Division.

Caden Sierra

In game one, both teams would come out of the gate flying as the Falcons would get the first goal of the game. Shortly after, senior Chloe Valente would respond for the ‘Cats on a breakaway goal that would tie the game up 1-1 early. Seven minutes into the first period Senior Paris Wegleitner would take a tripping penalty that would result in a Falcons power play leading to a screened shot from the point. The Falcons would gain a 2-1 lead, which they would hold onto going into the next period. 

The ‘Cats would start the second period off with an early press, attempting to tie the game up two a piece. Wildcats goalie, sophomore Lucy Bruening would shine in the second period recording a shutout period to keep the ‘Cats within one goal as the period would end scoreless, keeping the game 2-1. Early in the third period, Valente would get a prime opportunity in the slot and would bury it behind the Falcons netminder, tying the game 2-2. Finally, a net front shot by Wegleitner with nearly four minutes left on the clock would find its way past the Falcons goaltender, securing the game winning goal for the ‘Cats.

Caden Sierra

Speaking on the goal, Wegleitner said “Obviously it felt good to get ahead finally, I felt like we were just kind of stuck most of the game… so it kind of felt like we broke that barrier finally. ”

Story continues below advertisement

Just 28 seconds after the goal, Valente would get a breakaway, scoring a bar down goal extending the ‘Cats lead now 4-2. Valente would continue to shine, scoring two more quick breakaway goals, extending the lead to 5-2. The ‘Cats would secure a 6-2 win over the Falcons with Valente adding a last-minute short-handed breakaway goal. Valente, who is currently sitting with 21 goals on the season, is inching closer to her season high mark of 27 goals. When asked about where her focus was on passing her season record Valente said “I just want to win” . 

The second game would see a scoreless first period, with both teams displaying a back and forth battle. Notably, the Wildcats successfully killed off an early penalty, putting their defensive skills on display. The second period kept up the high intensity, with both teams creating scoring opportunities to score. Goaltenders from both sides delivered solid performances, keeping the score a 0-0 through two periods with shots being 18-20 in favor of Bowling Green.

Entering the third period with a scoreless tie, the ‘Cats faced penalty trouble early. However,  Wildcats Junior Goaltender Ripley Larkyn made crucial saves to keep the game even. Finally, with eight minutes left on the clock, Junior Cecelia Cunningham would score her sixth goal of the year, giving the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead. Despite late penalties, the ‘Cats held their ground, securing a 1-0 victory with a shutout performance by Larkyn.

Speaking about goaltending over the weekend, Valente said “Knowing that we have such great goaltending definitely helps us know that it’ll be okay.”

Caden Sierra

Senior Defensemen Alyvia Peedle jokingly added when talking on preserving the shutout for Larkyn “I know at least they[Coaches] were telling us defense, like, Just don’t let them score. We don’t need any offense.”

Before the first game of the weekend, the Wildcats hosted their senior night. A ceremony was held before the game where the senior players would receive flowers and other gifts from coaches. The players were also met by their parents on the ice for pictures before the game. For Seniors Lindsey Walton, Alyvia Peedle and team Captains Chloe Valente and Paris Wegleitner. 

“It’s just really exciting. It’s something you both dread and you’re excited like, oh my gosh, the four years have already flown by but I mean…I thought it was great.” Valente said, reminiscing on the years with the club. 

Caden Sierra

“It’s nice to see the entire league growing just as a whole compared to my freshman year when we went to Nationals,” Walton said. She added “All of those teams were so easy to beat compared to the players that we had, and now we’re really seeing travel girls play club hockey. Which is good to see as well.”

Peedle, who played only this most recent season with the Wildcats due to COVID-19, said “I was pretty glad I did[playing for the club] kinda regret not doing it sooner, but I’m glad I at least played one season”

The Wildcats will next take on Notre Dame this weekend at the Lakeview Arena for the last home games of the year. The Fighting Irish are currently tenth in the CCWHA W2 division with a record of 0-6-0.  Puck drop will be on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 5:30pm and Sunday, Jan. 28 at 11:30am.

More to Discover