The Gustavus women’s hockey team just could not get on track against Middlebury on Saturday afternoon in the Third Place game at the NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship in Rochester, New York. The Gusties trailed 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after two periods, before ending with the 5-0 setback. Gustavus was whistled for seven penalties in the game and Middlebury scored on two of its seven opportunities. The Gusties were 0-for-5 on the power play.
“We came out in the first period and had a little jump, but we just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had,” stated Coach Mike Carroll. “Middlebury played a solid game from start to finish and I thought they did a better job of finishing the opportunities that they had.”
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead at the 9:38 mark of the first period when Lauren Greer scored a power play goal. The first period ended with the Panthers leading 1-0.
In the second period, the Gusties were battling to stay close to the Panthers and stayed within a goal until the 14:52 mark when Gustavus was whistled for a checking penalty and Middlebury was awarded a penalty shot. The Panthers Sara Ugalde took the penalty shot and lifted the puck up and over the shoulder of Danielle Justice to give Middlebury a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, the Panthers extended their lead to 3-0 when Maggie Melberg scored at the 16:48 mark.
Middlebury closed out the scoring with two third period goals by Anna McNally. The first of McNally’s two goals was a power play goal at the 9:21 mark and the second was an even strength goal at 18:42.
Senior defender Sara Yungner, playing in her last game for Gustavus, enjoyed the atmostphere and tempo of the game stating, “I thought it was a great game. It was fast and it was fun to play. It all just comes down to putting the puck in the net and we were not able to do that.”
Gustavus out-shot Middlebury 30-21 in the game including a 14-8 advantage in the third period, however Middlebury’s Alexi Bloom was perfect in goal turning away all 30 of Gustavus’ shots. Danielle Justice registered 16 saves for the Gusties.
Carroll was pleased with how his squad battled to the end, “The third period we showed a lot of energy and played with a lot of heart. It just wasn’t meant to be. I thought their goalie played really well and that was the story of the game.”