The Gustavus women’s hockey team continued its strong late-season play with a convincing 5-1 win over St. Catherine in the MIAC Playoff Championship on Saturday afternoon at Don Roberts Ice Rink. With the win, the Gusties earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins next weekend. The draw for the tournament will be announced on Monday morning at NCAA.com.
Five different players scored for Gustavus in the game including Mollie Carroll, Alyssa Saunders, Allie Schwab, Kelsey Johnson, and Alyssa Gaulrapp. Danielle Justice registered 18 saves and picked up the win in goal for the Gusties.
Gustavus jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Mollie Carroll (2:32) and Alyssa Saunders (6:00) in the first six minutes of the game. St. Kate’s pulled to within a goal when Meghan Lange scored at the 8:35 mark. The Gusties, who outshot, the Wildcats 16-4 in the first period, held a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
The pace slowed down in the second period for Gusties as they were whistled for three penalties in a two-and-a-half minute stretch. The penalties allowed the Wildcats to skate with a 5-on-3 advantage for over two minutes, but Gustavus, with the help of some strong goaltending by Danielle Justice managed to shut St. Kate’s out and maintain it’s 2-1 lead. The Gusties increased their lead to 3-1 when Allie Schwab scored at the 17:09 mark. Gustavus led 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.
The Gusties picked up the pace in the third and final period and found the net twice in the first ten minutes of play to extend their lead to 5-1. Kelsey Johnson scored her first goal of the season at the 3:32 mark to make the score 4-1 and then Alyssa Gaulrapp knocked in a rebound of a shot by Kirstin Peterson at the 9:30 mark to close out the scoring for Gustavus.
The goal by St. Kate’s in the first period halted stopped a string of 250 minutes where the Gusties had not allowed its opponents a goal. Gustavus has allowed just one goal in its last five games, outscoring its opponents 23-2 during that stretch.
The Gusties, who improved to 21-4-2, have now 12 straight and 19 of their last 20 games.