The Gustavus women’s hockey team dropped its MIAC title-clinching magic number to one with a convincing 8-2 victory over Saint Mary’s in Winona, Minn. Friday night. Picking up two points in the conference standings with a 12-0-1 mark (17-1-2 overall), the Gusties are eight points ahead of the second place team with five games to go. A Gustavus win Saturday would secure its eighth consecutive (11th overall) conference title in the 14-year history of the league. The Cardinals fall to 6-10-4 overall and 3-7-3 in the MIAC.
Nearly five minutes had passed in the first period before Gracie Olson gave the Gusties their first lead of the night. Marissa Brandt aided Olson’s second goal of the year at the 4:43 mark and Gustavus skated into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The Three Crowns took control of the game with a breakout second period. Cardinal Riley Brown was flagged for tripping at the 3:28 mark in the second and :51 later, Carolyn Draayer cashed in with a power play goal on an assist from Jess Harren and Brandt. Draayer’s goal was her fifth in the player advantage this season and 16th overall. It only took another :22 before Allie Schwab scored what proved to be the game-winner. Mollie Carroll was credited with the helper.
Another Saint Mary’s penalty gave the Gusties the player advantage and this time it was Amanda Cartony finding the back of the net. Carroll tallied her second assist of the game and team-leading 18th of the year at the 6:59 mark. Brittany Therrien ended the shutout with a power play goal at the 12:18 mark, assisted by Nicole Olson. But the Gusties took all the momentum right back with just under two minutes left in the frame on yet another power play goal. First-years Courtney Boucher and Draayer tag-teamed a dime that Leah Johnson buried in the net and Gustavus went into the locker room after 40 minutes with a 5-1 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Gusties to continue the scoring rout as Carroll notched her third point of the game with a goal 3:30 in the final period. Cartony returned the favor for her earlier goal along with Schwab. Boucher took the reins at the 9:25 mark with the Gusties’ fourth power play goal of the night on an assist from fellow rookie Kelly Thotland. Cartony then capped off the contest with her second goal of the night (third point) all on her own at the 11:00 mark.
The Gusties collected a total of 43 shots and limited the Cardinals to 12. They also took advantage with their special teams and capitalized on 4-of-6 power plays. Saint Mary’s was 1-of-5 in the player advantage. The Gusties dominated on the dots as well, winning 46-of-61 faceoffs.
Danielle Justice remained unbeaten in goal for the Gusties and improved to 13-0-2 overall after collecting 10 saves. Saint Mary’s netminder Sarah Gustafson took the loss after defending 35 shots.
Game two of the regular season series is set for 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter, Minn.