The Gustavus women’s hockey team turned in a dominating performance against St. Olaf on Thursday night and advanced to the MIAC Playoff Championship game with a 5-0 win over St. Olaf at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter. The Gusties, who will be playing in the MIAC Playoff title game for the eleventh consecutive year, will host #2 seed St. Catherine on Saturday at 2:00 pm. The Wildcats advanced with a 4-3 win over St. Thomas.
The Gusties got off to a slow start as St. Olaf controlled the first ten minutes of play, but at the 12:07 mark of the first period, Allie Schwab pounced on a rebound right in front of the net and batted the puck past St. Olaf goaltender Jessica Ptachik to take a 1-0 lead. The goal jump-started the Gusties, who out-shot the Oles 7-1 the rest of the period and went into the lockerroom with a 1-0 advantage at the first intermission.
Gustavus broke the game open in the second period with three goals including two even strength goals and one with an extra skater on a delayed penalty. Senior captain Melissa Mackley started the scoring barrage with a goal just 38 seconds into the second frame. Three minutes later, first year forward Meagan Wanecke increased the lead to 2-0 with a goal at the 3:03 mark. Midway through the period, the Gusties pulled goaltender Danielle Justice on a delayed penalty and scored with the extra skater as junior defender Kirstin Peterson found the net with a blast from the top of the right circle at the 12:53 mark.
Peterson closed out the scoring with her second goal of the game on another blast from the top of the right circle at 4:35 of the third period. Peterson finished the night with three points including the two goals and an assist on Allie Schwab’s goal in the first period.
Gustavus posted its fourth consecutive shutout and increased its shutout streak to 241 minutes and 49 seconds dating back to a 3-2 win over Saint Mary’s on Feb. 19. Gustie goaltender Daniell Justice registered 24 saves and picked up her fourth shutout of the season.
The Gusties top line of Melissa Mackley, Allie Schwab, and Meagan Wanecke had a big game as each player recorded one goal and picked up one assist for six total points. The top defensive pairing of Kirstin Peterson and Sarah Yungner also had a productive night at Peterson scored two goals and added one assist, while Yungner contributed one assist for four points.
The top-seeded Gusties will now face #2 seeded St. Catherine on Saturday afternoon. The two teams split their regular season meeting with St. Kate’s winning 2-1 in St. Peter and Gustavus winning 3-1 in St. Paul. The Wildcats will be playing in the MIAC Playoff Championship game for the first time in the program’s history. St. Kate’s will be the first team other than Gustavus or St. Thomas to play in the playoff championship game since 2002 when Saint Mary’s won the playoff title with a 2-1 win over the Gusties.
You will be able to watch the game live through the Gustavus website.