The Gustavus Adolphus College women?s hockey team will open NCAA Tournament play on Saturday with a first round game against the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point here at Don Roberts Ice Rink in the Lund Arena.
The Gusties will be making their second NCAA Tournament appearance in the past three years, while the Pointers will be making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Gustavus, which won the MIAC postseason tournament to earn the NCAA automatic bid, enters the game with a 22-5-0 mark. UW-Stevens Point, which won the NCHA postseason tournament and received an at-large bid to the tournament, enters the game with a 17-6-4 mark. Both teams have been on a roll late in the season as UW-Stevens Point has won seven of its last nine games, while Gustavus has won ten straight and 20 of its last 22 games.
This will be the third meeting of the season between Gustavus and UW-Stevens Point. The two split a two-game series back in mid-November here in St. Peter with the Gusties winning game one, 3-2 and then the Pointers bouncing back to claim game two, 6-3. The two teams are almost identical in the national rankings and statistics. The Gusties are ranked sixth and the Pointers seventh in the most recent U.S. College Hockey Online Division III poll. In addition, Gustavus is seventh in the Division III Pairwise Rankings, while UW-Stevens Point is eighth. In the Division III statistical rankings, the Gusties rank sixth in scoring offense averaging 4.33 goals per game, while the Pointers are 15th averaging 3.37 goals per game. In scoring defense, Gustavus is fifth allowing 1.37 goals per game and UW-Stevens Point is seventh allowing 1.52 goals per game.
The balanced Gustavus offense is led by the talented first year duo of Ingrid Neve and Andrea Peterson. Neve has tallied 21 goals and 20 assists for 41 points, while Peterson has contributed 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points. Other top scorers for the Gusties include junior Laura Stypulkowski with 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points and senior Katie Deschneau with 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points. In the nets, Coach Mike Carroll?s squad is led by another first year duo of Kristin Setterstrom and Kara Meyer. Setterstrom is 12-2-0 with a 1.28 goals against average and Meyer is 10-1-0 with a 0.93 goals against average. Gustavus has scored 117 goals this season (4.33 pg) while allowing 37 (1.37 pg).
UW-Stevens Point is led by a trio of junior forwards including Ann Ninnemann (13g, 11a – 24 pts.), Kim Lunneborg (7g, 16a – 23 pts.) and Jackie Schmitt (13g, 9a – 22 pts.). In the nets, Coach Brian Idalski has relied almost exclusively on first year standout Amy Statz. Statz has compiled a record of 11-4-4 with a 1.70 goals against average. UW-Stevens Point has scored 91 goals this season (3.37 pg) while allowing 41 (1.52 pg).
The winner of tonight?s game advances to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four to meet top-seeded Manhattanville (N.Y.). The Frozen Four will take place March 19-20 at the site of one of the four participating schools, though Manhattanville will not host. In other quarterfinal matchups this weekend, Elmira (N.Y), the two-time defending national champion, is at Middlebury (Vt.) on Friday and Bowdoin (Maine) travels to Plattsburgh State (N.Y.) on Saturday afternoon.
You can listen to the game live on the internet beginning at 6:45 pm. Click here for the Gustavus broadcast page. Go to the Listen to the Game section to get details on how to listen to the broadcast.