In a game that pitted two of the top women’s hockey teams in NCAA Division III, seventh-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College skated to a 0-0 tie with eighth-ranked Trinity College on Friday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter, Minn. Both teams had numerous scoring opportunities throughout the 65 minutes of play, but outstanding goaltending by Gustavus’ Danielle Justice and Trinity’s Alexa Pujol thwarted every scoring chance which led to the draw. It was the first ever meeting between Gustavus and Trinity in women’s ice hockey.
Gustavus head coach Mike Carroll thought Justice showed why she is considered to be one of the top goaltenders in the nation against the Bantams. He stated, “The way Danielle played tonight really gave the team confidence. She stayed focused and kept us in the game when they got some odd-player rushes in the third period. The team knows that they can take some chances and be aggressive on the offensive end because of the fact that Danielle is so sound on the other end of the ice.”
The first period was played at a very quick pace, however neither team could muster much offense. Trinity had the best opportunity of the opening frame, when penalties on Gustavus’ Lisa Turri (interference at 8:31) and Lindsey Hjelm (checking at 9:40) gave the Bantams a 5×3 advantage for just over a minute. The Gusties limited Trinity to two shots during the two-player advantage. Justice registered saves on both shots and Gustavus went on to successfully kill both penalties. The Bantams held a slight 5-4 advantage in shots in the first period.
The second period was also very evenly played with Trinity once again holding a slim advantage in shots at 9-7. Each team was whistled for one penalty, but neither was able to convert with the advantage. The Bantams just missed picking up the winning goal at the end of the second period, when a fortunate bounce on a faceoff at center ice found the stick of Trinity’s Celia Coleman-McGaw with eight seconds left on the clock. McGaw charged down the right side of the ice and fired a point blank shot on Justice who made the save but could not control the rebound, the puck slid across the crease and was knocked across the goal line as time expired. The official initially signaled goal, but after discussion with the goal judge the goal was ruled to have crossed the line after time had expired and the score remained 0-0 after 40 minutes of play.
The Gusties got another break early in the third period when Trinity’s Payson Sword fired a shot at Justice that caromed off the top of the crossbar and bounced straight up into the rafters high above the ice. Shortly after Trinity’s near miss, Gustavus got another chance on the power play when Sword was whistled for interference at the 3:57 mark. The Gusties controlled the puck in Trinity’s zone for much of the final minute of the power play and put several quality shots on goal, however Pujols came up big each time and thwarted Gustavus’ challenge. The Bantams broke loose on two 1-on-0 breakaways in the third period and each time Justice stonewalled the Bantams to maintain the shutout. Trinity out-shot Gustavus 8-5 in the third period and held a 22-16 edge in shots after regulation play.
Gustavus sophomore forward Tam Meuwissen gave the Gusties a spark early in the overtime buzzing around the Bantams net and firing a quick shot at Pujols that sailed just wide. Chelsea Campbell responded with a point blank shot on Justice, but just as she had all night long, Justice gobbled up the puck and did not give up a rebound and forced a face-off. Gustavus managed two shots in the overtime, while Trinity was credited with one shot in the extra session. Time expired in the five minute overtime with neither team able to light the lamp and the result was a 0-0 tie.
Gustavus’ Justice registered 23 saves in her finest performance of the season so far, while Trinity’s Pujols matched Justice’s fine play with 18 saves.
Carroll thought his squad responded to the challenge against Trinity. He said, “I am really proud of the effort of our players tonight. They played against a system they are not used to facing and adjusted well. Trinity is a very good hockey team and they are well coached. We knew what they were going to do and we practiced how to defend it. Our players carried out the plan and limited their opportunities. Trinity created some good scoring opportunities, but every time they pressured us, Danielle answered the challenge.”
Gustavus moves to 8-2-1 on the season, while Trinity moves to 9-1-3. The Bantams will wrap up their West Region swing with a game at the University of St. Thomas on Saturday at 6:00 pm (CST) in Mendota Heights, Minn. The Gusties will return to action next weekend with a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference series with St. Benedict. Friday night’s game will be in St. Cloud and Saturday afternoon’s game will take place on the Gustavus campus in St. Peter.
— The 0-0 tie was only the second scoreless draw in the 14-year history of the Gustavus women’s hockey program.
— The Gusties were held scoreless for only the third time in the past 125 games dating back to the start of the 2006-07 season.