The Gustavus women’s hockey team earned a spot in its ninth consecutive MIAC Championship game with a 5-0 win over Hamline at Don Roberts Ice Rink on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period and never looked back to earn their fifth shutout in seven games. Gustavus improved to 24-2-0, while Hamline finished its season at 14-10-3 after falling to the Gusties in the MIAC Semifinal for the second straight season.
Hamline had a scoring opportunity in the first minute as Melanie Leveille skated in on Gustavus netminder Breanna Scavo for a saved shot. The Gusties would dominate play during the period from this point as Gustavus scored three goals during the first period. Claire Opsahl scored the first goal of the game on a rebound in front of the net after Margaret Dorer made the initial shot at 8:31. Allie Harwood also earned an assist on the play. Gustavus got on the board again at the 13:40 mark when Kirstin Peterson scored her third goal of the season after receiving a pass from Harwood. Peterson took a wrist shot from the center of the blue line that found the upper right hand corner of the net as Piper goaltender Suzanne Kellogg was screened. Seconds later, Alyssa Saunders skated up the right side of the rink and shot from the left circle to find the inside of the left pipe to put the Gusties ahead by three goals. The goal forced Hamline coach Garnet Asmundson to call a timeout and switch Suzanne Kellogg and Crystal Testolin in the net with 5:31 left in the period. The damage had been done, though, as Gustavus skated into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.
Mari Gunderson put the Gusties on the boards early in the second period with her team-leading 16th goal of the season on a rebound. Melissa Mackley setup the play as she passed the puck from the left circle to Alyssa Saunders, who was streaking down the center of the zone. Saunders got a shot away forcing Testolin onto her stomach to make the save, leaving the net open for Gunderson’s rebound. The Pipers had a quality scoring chance midway through the period when Scavo misplayed a puck in front of the net. Hamline’s Kesia Madryga picked up the loose puck only to shoot wide left of the open net. Testolin was pressured later in the period, but kept Gustavus off of the board for the duration of the period with a 4-1 lead heading into intermission.
Gustavus received its fifth goal with a rebound from Jenna Johnson during the fourth power-play opportunity of the game. Lisa Sablak and Jenny Pusch were awarded with assists on the goal as the Gusties closed out the contest 5-1. The Pipers were unable to generate any scoring chances as they were unable to put a shot on goal in the period.
Breanna Scavo made eight saves to earn her eighth shutout and improve to 21-2-0. Suzanne Kellogg made nine saves and allowed three goals as her record dropped to 3-2-0. Crystal Testolin made 26 saves after entering the contest, while allowing two goals.
Gustavus will host St. Thomas on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m. at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter. Both teams will face off for the sixth consecutive time in the MIAC Post-Season Final with the Gusties winning the last four meetings.