One might have expected a high scoring game when the top two scoring teams in the MIAC, Gustavus and St. Thomas, faced off on Friday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter. No one was probably prepared for the defensive battle that ensued as the Gusties came away with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal scored by Lynn Hillen with 4:25 remaining in the third period. Gustavus improved to 14-1-0 overall and remained undefeated in league play at 9-0-0. St. Thomas dropped to 13-3-0 overall and 7-2-0 in the MIAC.
Both squads entered Friday’s contest averaging over three goals per game, while allowing less than one. St. Thomas set the tone early in the first period when Ashley Reinhardt took a shot that hit the crossbar above Gustavus goaltender Breanna Scavo’s right shoulder. However, neither team was able to generate offensive flow in a period that had few whistles and only one Tommie penalty. St. Thomas goaltender Laurel Bradel stopped 14 shots to help send the Tommies into intermission tied at 0-0.
The second period continued in the same manner as the first with both defenses tightening up the pressure. Both teams combined to put seven shots on goal in an increasingly tense contest that ended tied still at 0-0 heading into the third period.
Momentum swayed back and forth as St. Thomas missed another scoring opportunity when Beccaa Reardon took a shot that hit the pipe late in the decisive period before the puck was cleared for an icing call. Gustavus’ Lisa Sablak gained control of the puck and moved up the left side of the ice and took a shot. Bradel made the initial save as she was sliding across the crease, but left a bouncing puck out in front of the net. Lynn Hillen was able to put her stick on it and tapped in the open net goal at 15:35. The Tommies pulled Bradel with 1:00 remaining, but they were unable to get a quality shot through to Scavo.
Scavo, who posted her fourth shutout of the season, brought her record to 13-1-0 making 11 saves in the winning effort. Bradel saw her record fall to 10-3-0, despite making 21 saves.
Both teams will finish the series Saturday night in Mendota Heights at the St. Thomas Ice Arena at 7 p.m. as Gustavus now has a two-game lead over the Tommies for first place in the MIAC standings.