The Gustavus women’s hockey team saw its dream of winning a national championship on its home ice come to a screeching halt on Friday evening with a 4-0 loss to defending national champion Amherst at Don Roberts Ice Rink on the Gustavus campus. The Lord Jeffs put a lot of pressure on the Gusties in the first period and took a 1-0 lead when Stephanie Clegg scored a power play goal off a scramble in front of the Gustavus net at the 13:48 mark. Amherst added another goal in the second period and two more in the third including an empty net goal with 30 seconds left to register the 4-0 victory. Gustavus will now play Elmira in the third place game on Saturday at 3:30 pm (CDT), while Amherst will look to defend its national title against Norwich University at 7:00 pm (CDT).
After Clegg’s first period goal, Amherst scored its sec0nd goal at 11:25 of the second period as Kirsten Dier beat Danielle Justice with a blast from the top of the right circle. The Lord Jeffs increased their lead to 3-0 when Megan Curry slipped the puck through the legs of Justice on a breakaway at the 7:20 mark of the third period. Kate Dennett closed out the scoring with an empty net goal with 30 seconds left in the contest.
Gustavus got off to a slow start in the first period and was out-shot by Amherst 7-1. The Gusties came charging back in the second period out-shooting the Lord Jeffs 10-6, but Amherst goaltender Caroline Hu repeatedly stonewalled Gustavus turning away all 10 shots on goal. The Gusties continued to put pressure on Amherst in the third period, but the Lord Jeffs snuffed out the Gusties hopes with a quick counterattack that led to the breakaway goal by Curry with 12 minutes remaining in the contest. Gustavus tested Hu time and again in the third period only to be turned away at each opportunity. The junior netminder registered her seventh shutout of the season. Gustie goaltender Danielle Justice made 17 saves and allowed three goals.
Gustavus,which is making its fifth appearance fourth Championship Finals appearance is still searching for its first trip to the national championship game. The Gusties will try to claim the third place trophy for the third time on Saturday afternoon.