No. 6 UW-Superior upended No. 2 Gustavus Adolphus 3-1 in a NCAA Quarterfinal game on Saturday afternoon at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter, Minn. Shana Katz scored the eventual game-winning goal at 14:36 in the second period, while Melissa Kunzelman made 28 saves for the Yellowjackets. UW-Superior, which is on a 15-game winning streak, improved to 23-4-1, as Gustavus finishes its season 25-3-0 for the second consecutive season.
Gustavus controlled play in the first period as it outshot UW-Superior 11-3. The Yellowjackets had an excellent scoring opportunity early in the period as Stacy Anderson had a breakaway shot saved by Gustie goaltender Breanna Scavo (So., Blaine, Minn.). Both teams skated at a frantic pace until UW-Superior’s Brianne Mosher was called for a hooking penalty at 6:19 where the Gusties capitalized on the extra-skater advantage late in the power play. Melissa Mackley (So., Burnsville, Minn.) threaded a pass cross-ice to Alyssa Saunders (So., Wayzata, Minn.) where UW-Superior goaltender Melissa Kunzelman made the initial save. Mari Gunderson (Jr., Shoreview, Minn.) managed to get her stick on the rebound and put the puck in the empty net as she fell to the ice. The Gusties were 23-0-0 when scoring first this season. Gustavus maintained control of the puck with two more power play chances in the period, but skated into intermission with a 1-0 lead.
UW-Superior came out strong in the second period and seized momentum after Gustavus’ Lisa Sablak (Fy., South St. Paul, Minn.) was called for a checking penalty at 8:53. The Gusties killed the penalty, but were unable to clear the puck when Allie Pullar tied the game 1-1 at 11:26. Jamie McClintock and Brittany Dunkel were credited with the assists. Three minutes later the Yellowjackets caught Gustavus in the middle of a line change that resulted on a two-on-zero breakaway. Stacy Anderson hung on to the puck long enough to get Scavo to commit before passing to Shana Katz who found the left side of the net to give UW-Superior a 2-1 lead.
The Gusties got a chance late in the period to tie the score as a tripping penalty was called on Kayla Chilstrom at 17:06. UW-Superior’s Gina Baranzelli forced a center ice turnover, skated up the left side and fired a shot into the upper left hand corner for her Division III-leading fifth short-handed goal of the season to give the Yellowjackets a 3-1 lead.
Gustavus pressured UW-Superior during the third period with 11 shots on goal compared to one shot for the Yellowjackets, but were unable to get the puck past Kunzelman. Gustavus pulled Scavo with 1:25 remaining as the Gustie defenders put shots on net with the hopes of getting a deflection. However, the UW-Superior defense held string.
UW-Superior improved to 1-1 in the NCAA tournament, while Gustavus falls to 4-7. The Yellowjackets also notched their first program win over Gustavus, as UW-Superior is 1-9-1 all-time against the Gusties.
The Yellowjackets, who are making their second NCAA appearance, advances to their first NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Championship Semifinal in Plattsburgh, New York, where they will meet No. 10 Manhattanville on March 21 at 3:30 ET. Top-ranked Plattsburgh State (N.Y.) will Elmira in the other semifinal.