St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team held its annual post-season banquet last week in the Heritage Room of the Jackson Student Center. Senior goaltender Danielle Justice (Alexandria, Minn.) highlighted the events awards ceremony by being named the Andrea Peterson Most Valuable Player.
The Most Valuable Player award is named after four-time AHCA All-American and four-time MIAC MVP Andrea Peterson `07. Peterson played a total of 114 games, setting program records for career points (185) and assists (107), while also scoring a school record 32 goals during the 2004-05 season.
Simply put, Danielle Justice is the best goaltender in the history of Golden Gustie women’s hockey. The senior from Alexandria, Minnesota concluded her standout career with a goals against average of 1.44 (7th/NCAA) and a save percentage of .920 (29th/NCAA) this season. At 18-2-2, Justice ranked third in the nation with a winning percentage of .864. She recorded four shutouts while going 13-0-1 against the conference on the way to Gustavus’ eighth consecutive MIAC Championship.
Despite a frame that defies the prototypical college goalie, the quick and athletic Justice has been a staple between the pipes for Coach Mike Carroll’s squad the past four seasons. Danielle concludes her tenure on the hill with a career record of 63-12-9 (.804), breaking the previous school record by 28 wins. She became the first Gustavus netminder to reach the 1,000-save milestone, finishing with a total of 1,316 for a save percentage of .964. Justice allowed 97 goals in 5,000:51 minutes for an amazing goals against average of just 1.16.
The Molly Doyle Most Outstanding First-Year Player award was given to rookie forward Carolyn Draayer (Deephaven, Minn.). This award is named after 2008 Gustavus graduate Molly Doyle, who turned in one of the best frosh seasons in the history of Gustavus women’s hockey. Doyle scored 46 points on 19 goals and 27 assists during her debut year, ranking 10th all-time in season scoring. She was named All-Conference and was a member of the All-Rookie team.
Carolyn Draayer kicked off her rookie campaign on a six-game point-scoring streak and was eventually named Gustavus Female Student-Athlete of the Month for November because of her outstanding play. Draayer was Gustavus’ top scoring first-year player this season, finishing the season ranked fourth on the team with 27 points on 19 goals (2nd/Team) and eight assists. The Deephaven, Minn. product had six game-winning goals and was named to the MIAC All-Rookie team.
Being able to develop players from within the system is usually a trademark of a championship program. Gustavus women’s hockey is no different. This year’s recipients of the Laura Stypulkowski `05 Most Improved Player award are Courtney Boucher (Hastings, Minn.) and Beth Olson (Warroad, Minn.). After scoring a total of 39 points through her freshman and sophomore seasons, Stypulkowski exploded for 36 points (13G, 23A) her junior year and 48 points (17G, 31A) her senior year. An All-American in 2005 and a two-time All-MIAC performer, she ranks third in all-time scoring at Gustavus with 135 points (53G, 82A).
Courtney Boucher played in all 30 games this season, recording seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. Of her 17 points, Boucher hit her stride in the second half of the year, registering four goals and seven assists for 11 points to finish with a rating of +7. Although her progress will not appear on the statistics page, Beth Olson’s development was seen during practice and through her commitment and hard work off the ice. Olson appeared in nine games last season (scoring one point) and will be a key factor in Coach Carroll’s defensive mixture next season.
Taking home the team’s final award of the evening was junior defender Lindsey Hjelm (North Oaks, Minn.). Hjelm received the Laura Vannelli Most Inspirational Player award for her leadership ability both on and off the ice. A key defender for the Gusties from 2004-to-2008, Laura Vannelli exemplified a team player in the Gustavus women’s hockey program. A two-time captain during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns, Vannelli played selfless hockey on the Gustie blue line for four seasons, suiting up in a total of 111 games and scoring 42 career points (21G, 21A).
In what was the mark of a true team player, Lindsey Hjelm made a seamless transition to defense after spending her freshman and sophomore seasons as one of the team’s highest scoring forwards. Hjelm was named All-Conference for the third time in her career this year, and was also named to the AHCA All-America team for the first time in her career. With 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points, the Mounds View High School product finished ninth in NCAA Division III in points per game (0.87) among defenders.
In addition to the team awards handed out at the banquet, Maddie Bergh (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.), Mollie Carroll (Sr., Eagan Minn.), Lindsey Hjelm, Danielle Justice, Kelsey Kennedy (Jr., Eagan, Minn.), Whitney Schaff (Sr., Cambridge, Minn.), and Marah Sobczak (So., Stillwater, Minn.) were named National Scholar Athletes by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). National Scholar Athletes are recognized for their outstanding academic achievement while participating in collegiate women’s ice hockey. To be eligible for the award, the student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with a cumulative grade point average of above a 3.50 or above.
The Gustavus women’s hockey team finished its 2011-12 season at 24-4-2 overall and 16-1-1 in the MIAC. The Gusties won the MIAC Regular Season title for the eighth-straight season and the MIAC Playoff title for the ninth-straight year. After making their ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Gusties advanced to the national semifinals for the third year in a row after defeating UW-River Falls 4-2 in the opening round. Gustavus’ season came to an end with a pair of heartbreaking losses in DIII semifinals held in Rochester, New York. The Black and Gold fell 4-3 in overtime to Norwich in the semifinal game before suffering a 4-3 loss in overtime to Plattsburgh in the third place game.