Kelly Crandall scored the game-winning goal against Saint Thomas in double-overtime Saturday to garner a Gustavus women’s hockey victory in the MIAC Championship game at Don Roberts Rink in St. Peter. The win gives the Gusties their second straight MIAC Tournament title. Margaret Dorer, Kelly Crandall, and Andrea Peterson scored for Gustavus, while Melanie Drake and Tedra Mitchell scored for the Tommies. The Gusties improve to 23-3-1 and advance to play in the NCAA Division III Tournament on March 11, 12, or 13. Saint Thomas finishes the season at 21-4-2 overall.
The Tommies threatened in the first period as their first shot on goal deflected off the cross bar four minutes into the game. Neither team was able to tally a goal in the first period as the game remained scoreless.
Gustavus was able to get on the board first as Margaret Dorer scored at 14:32 of the second period off an assist from Ingrid Neve. However, just minutes later, the Tommies responded with a goal at 17:29 by Melanie Drake assisted by Maureen Hardwick and Tanaya Reitz to tie the game 1-1. Saint Thomas scored its second goal of the game at 18:46 off a shot from Tedra Mitchell that dropped behind Gustavus goaltender Kara Meyer. Initially, the official closest to the goal disallowed the score. However, after reviewing the play with the goal judge, the goal was permitted. Jackie Foley and Maria Richardson assisted Mitchell’s goal as the Tommies went ahead 2-1 with one period remaining.
The Gusties were unable to convert two opportunities early in the final period of regulation before two-time MIAC Player of the Year Andrea Peterson found the net on a power play goal at 7:17 to tie the game at 2-2. Peterson’s goal came off an assist from Kelly Crandall, which capitalized on a give-and-go play that Peterson and Crandall continuously work on during practice. Peterson said, “My goal came off a play that Crandall and I are always trying. She caught the defense losing track of me, I made a cut to the net, and I was able to score off her great give-and-go pass.” Saint Thomas received a penalty at 10:18 of the final period in which Peterson just missed a goal on the same setup play that led to her earlier goal. Regulation play ended with the score tied at 2-2.
Gustavus’ Kara Meyer denied a Saint Thomas breakaway at 2:19 of the first overtime to keep the Gusties in the game. Gustavus had an opportunity to slam home a rebound in the closing seconds of the first overtime but the Gusties were unable to convert forcing a second overtime.
Fifteen minutes into the second overtime, Gustavus tasted victory when Kelly Crandall deked right and sent a slap shot past Saint Thomas’ Katie Jetland. Abby Randall and Laura Stypulkowski were credited with assists.
Jetland turned in a spectacular performance in the nets for Saint Thomas as she repeatedly turned away great Gustavus scoring opportunities. The Tommie netminder recorded 51 saves in the contest including 15 in the two overtimes as the Gusties out-shot Saint Thomas 16-5. Kara Meyer picked up the win in the nets for Gustavus allowing two goals and making 20 saves including the game-saver on a Tommie breakaway early in the first overtime. The Gusties out-shot Saint Thomas 54-22 in the game.
The 80-minute championship contest is the second longest playoff game in MIAC history behind the Tommies 97-minute 6-5 win over Augsburg in the semifinals last year.
With the win, Gustavus receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. The NCAA selection committee will meet Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. to decide seedings for this year’s tournament. A decision as to where and when Gustavus will play will be available on the women’s hockey home page.