St. Peter, Minn. – Two first period goals proved to be the start the Gustavus women’s hockey team needed, as they took down Bethel 3-1 in a non-conference match-up on Saturday afternoon at Don Roberts Ice Rink. With the win, the Gusties improve to 8-0-0 on the year, while the Royals drop to 6-4-1.
It took all of 3:52 for the Gustie women to score their first goal of the contest when Leah Johnson (So., Chanhassen, Minn.) threw a wrister on net from the top of the right circle. The puck found its way through a screen and into the back of the net to give Gustavus a 1-0 lead in the early going. Johnson’s first goal of the season was assisted by Marissa Brandt (So., Vadnais Heights, Minn.).
Nearly 11 minutes later, the Gusties put another mark on the scoreboard. This time, a shot was generated from the point. After a pair of rebound attempts were deflected by Bethel goaltender Jess Newstrom, Carolyn Draayer (So., Deephaven, Minn.) put it away to give the Black and Gold a 2-0 lead headed to the first intermission. Lindsey Hjelm (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) and Allison Eder-Zdechlik (Fy., Stillwater, Minn.) were credited with assists on the goal.
“We’re excited to have Carolyn back on the ice again and to have that goal come for her early,” mentioned assistant women’s hockey coach Kirstin Peterson. “Maybe that will get her going offensively a little bit.”
Although described as “a little rough” by coach Peterson, the Gusties still managed to get on the scoreboard in the second period. After racking up three assists this season, Jenna Christensen (Sr., Albert Lea, Minn.) got her first goal of the year at the 7:59 mark. Christensen was assisted by fellow-senior Kelsey Kennedy (Sr., Eagan, Minn.).
The Royals were able to take advantage of a power play opportunity later in the second period. With :45 seconds remaining in the frame, Bethel’s Biz Huss found the back of the net for the fifth time this season. The goal brought the Royals within two, but it was all the closer they would come as the score ended 3-1 in favor of the Gusties.
“We had a better first period than we have had in our last couple of games, which was something we have been working towards,” explained coach Peterson. “The second and third periods were a little rough, but thankfully we got off to a strong enough start to get us the win.”
All three goalies saw action in Saturday afternoon’s win. Lindsey Hibbard (Fy., Princeton, Minn.) started the game off. Hibbard did not allow a goal while tallying four saves. Colleen Jacoby (Fy., Muskegon, Mich.) took her place between the pipes in the second period. She allowed the lone goal of the afternoon, but also recorded the most saves of the three goalies with seven. Tara Hoverstad (Fy., Coon Rapids, Minn.) got the call for the third and final period. Hoverstad tallied six saves on her way to not allowing a goal.
“We are very impressed with our three goalies,” remarked Peterson. “They compete everyday in practice and each of them came up with some big saves today. It is nice to see what they do in practice carry over to the game.”
The Gustie women will be back in action next week when they travel to River Falls, Wis. to take on No. 6 UW-River Falls on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:05 p.m. They will then return home for a second match-up with UW-River Falls on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m.
“The key tonight was our goaltending and our strong start,” finished Peterson. “If we can get those to carry over, as well as get more quality shots, finish some of our scoring opportunities and calm down a little bit in the d-zone, we should be able to take care of business next week.”