TOLEDO, Ohio — It was a real neat experience for the Trine University women’s hockey team to play an outdoor game on Dec. 2, but it was not the result it wanted in a 6-1 non-conference loss to NCAA Division III ninth-ranked Adrian at Fifth Third Field, the home ballpark of the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens.
The Thunder (4-10-1) has now lost all 17 meetings lifetime against the established Bulldogs, and the game went like most of those contests. Adrian scored three goals each in the first and second period and outshot Trine 41-18 for the game.
Trine coach Tom Hofman saw an opportunity against a perennial power on a neutral site on the Marathon Outdoor Rink. It was the first outdoor game in program history for both women’s teams from Trine and Adrian. Hofman was hoping for a better effort on his side.
“You get to looking around, but you still have a game to play,” Hofman said. “In a game like this, it’s hard to stick to a game plan.
“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, against a strong Adrian team. They are fast. They execute their systems real well,” he added. “But the experience and opportunity to play outdoors is something we will never forget, that’s for sure.”
The Thunder bounced back after the Bulldogs (7-2-1) scored first a little over three minutes into the contest on a goal from Lindsey Sorrell. Grace Canty and Brandi Wilson each had big scoring chances stopped by Adrian goalie Sophie Goldberg. Trine pressured Adrian with a forecheck and it paid off just before the midway point of the first period as Michelle Byker stuffed a shot past Goldberg near the net after a Thunder takeaway. Grace Hicks assisted on the goal 9 minutes, 17 seconds into the game.
Then the Bulldogs took over. They outshot Trine 32-11 over the first two periods.
It was a reasonable day to play outdoors early in the winter on the final day of the Toledo Walleye Winterfest. Temperatures were in the mid- to upper-20s throughout the game. There were moments where the sun was really bright, like late in the third period.
“We played better in the third period,” Hofman said.
Wilson said, “It was incredible. The first time we walked onto the ice, it was an awesome experience. The sun was shining like we seen (outdoor games) on TV. There was a bit of sun, wind and coldness, but you can still play.”
Jessica VonRuden scored two goals for Adrian, and Culver Academies graduate Karmen Anderson had a goal and two assists.
Senior Emily Nettesheim made 35 saves in goal for the Thunder.
Trine has five more weekend doubleheaders left in the regular season against Northern Collegiate Hockey Association rivals. They include three of the top four teams in the conference (NCHA leader St. Norbert on the road, Lake Forest and Aurora at home) and the two bottom teams in the league (Finlandia at home, Lawrence on the road). Adrian is the only NCHA team ranked in the latest DCU/USCHO women’s Division III poll that came out on Dec. 3.
“We have to learn to be able to bury more of the chances we get,” Wilson said. “I really think with our potential, we can start another winning streak.”
The Thunder, who won four straight games over Marian, Wisconsin, prior to the holiday break, are back in action on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. when they host Finlandia at Thunder Ice Arena on Pink the Rink night for breast cancer awareness.