St. Peter, Minn. – After nearly a month without a regular season game, the Gustavus women’s hockey team got its first win of 2013 in a 7-3 victory over UW-Stevens Point at Don Roberts Ice Rink on Friday night. Seven different players scored a goal and 12 different players registered a point in the win for the Gusties.
Gustavus jumped out to an early lead with three first period goals. Carolyn Draayer (So., Deep Haven, Minn.) put the Gusties on the board first on a well-executed give-and-go from teammate Lindsey Hjelm (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) at the 9:04 mark of the first period. Three minutes later, Emily Reibert (Fy., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) cleaned up a Brianna Seebold (Fy., Detroit Lakes, Minn.) shot and snuck it past UW-Stevens Point goaltender Janna Beilke-Skoug to put the Gusties on top 2-0.
With 3:10 remaining in the opening period, and Gustavus down one skater, Hjelm, who made the switch from defender to forward for the first time this season, picked off a Pointer pass in the UW-Stevens Point zone and took the puck down the right side. She beat the Pointer goaltender glove-side to extend the Gustie lead to three.
“It was exciting to play forward again, but it was a tough transition especially coming back from break and trying to get back into shape. I just have to thank my linemates for being so gracious to teach me all of the systems again,” acknowledged a humble Hjelm.
Head coach Mike Carroll was pleased with his squad’s play in the first period. “It was very encouraging how we came out tonight after some time off,” said Carroll. “Stevens Point played a game already on Wednesday, so I was concerned about us getting off to a good start, but we were able to do that tonight.”
Gustavus tacked on two more goals in the early minutes of the second period. Jenna Christensen (Sr., Albert Lea, Minn.) skated the puck all the way from neutral ice across the blueline and into the Pointer zone. She centered a pass to the slot where Meagan Wanecke (Sr., Delafield, Wis.) sat waiting to put the puck in the back of the net. Wanecke’s goal put the Gusties up 4-0.
Just two minutes later, Kayla Ingbretson (Sr., Mound, Minn.) put back took a pass from Seebold in the slot. After her first shot was turned away, Ingbretson quickly put the rebound back to score her first goal of the season and put the Gusties on top 5-0.
But it was anything but over with a five-point lead for the Gusties. After scoring with 7:27 to play in the second period, the Pointers went on to score two more goals in the third to bring the score within two at 5-3.
However, Gustavus responded to the three unanswered goals when Melissa Doyle (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) deflected a Maddie Bergh (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) shot into the back of the net to put the Gusties back up by three with the score 6-3.
When Gustavus took a penalty with 3:38 to play, the Pointers elected to pull their goalie, giving UW-Stevens Point a two-skater advantage for two minutes. However, the Gusties were able to kill off the entire penalty and maintain their three-goal lead.
Marissa Brandt (So., Vadnais Heights, Minn.) capped the scoring when she stole a UW-Stevens Point pass in the Pointer zone and beat the goaltender stick-side to close out the 7-3 victory for the Gusties.
“We had some ups and downs, including some adversity at the end where we gave up some goals,” remarked Carroll. “It could have been a big momentum swing, but we weathered the storm and fought through it, so hopefully that will make us a better team and keep us ready for tomorrow.”
With the win, the Gusties move to 11-0-0 overall while the Pointers drop to 7-5-2. The two squads will battle again tomorrow afternoon at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Opening face-off is set for 2:00 p.m.
Even with a four-goal victory tonight, the Gusties are far from done getting better. “We have to prioritize taking care of our zone first,” said Hjelm. “We have been working on scoring all week, but really it comes down to how we are going to play defense. That is the biggest thing we will work on tomorrow, along with better communication between our players on the ice.”