St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team skated to a 2-1 victory over St. Catherine at Don Roberts Ice Rink Friday night. A goal that deflected off the stick of Jenna Christensen (Sr., Albert Lea, Minn.) proved to be the game-winner in the third period. With the win, head coach Mike Carroll earns his 300th career victory. He becomes just the second coach in the history of NCAA Division III women’s hockey to reach the milestone.
The Gusties got on the board early with a goal from Courtney Boucher (So., Hastings, Minn.). Boucher let a slap shot fly from the right point that was stopped by Wildcat goaltender Alex Hall, but Hall wasn’t able to hang on to it as the puck slid across the goal line to put Gustavus in the lead 1-0. Keri Pickel (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) and Leah Johnson (So., Chanhassen, Minn.) were credited with assists on the play.
St. Catherine answered midway through the opening period when Bailey Rasmussen skated behind the Gustie net and found Megan Killmer waiting at the high slot. Killmer buried it past the shoulder of Gustavus goalie Tara Hoverstad (Fy., Coon Rapids, Minn.) to even the score at 1-1, where it would stay heading into the first intermission.
The second period came and went with the score still 1-1. The Gusties had a number of opportunities offensively, including back-to-back power plays, but could not convert. Gustavus outshot St. Catherine 18-to-4 in the frame, yet could not find the high-quality shot that would result in a goal.
“I was pleased with our effort, but we got ourselves into some trouble tonight by not getting someone high in the slot, getting to rebounds, taking ourselves out of position and being content with staying on the perimeter,” said coach Carroll. “Going through that and learning from it, you can tell it is starting to sink in. I’m glad we have a game tomorrow so we can get back out there and improve in those areas.”
Gustavus continued to pour shot after shot on net in the third period until Jenna Christensen deflected a Boucher shot past an outstretched Hall. Christensen’s second goal of the season put the Gusties in front 2-1 and proved to be the game-winner as the Wildcats had a chance with a power play for the final :48 seconds of the game, but could not convert to leave the score 2-1 in favor of the Black and Gold.
“We found a way to get it done,” mentioned Carroll. “We have been doing that a little more lately, so that is a good confidence boost and hopefully now that we have gone through a situation where we have to grind it out, we will learn from it and it will make us a better team.”
Hoverstad went the distance between the pipes for Gustavus. The first-year gave up one goal and made 12 saves to get the win.
With the win, head coach Mike Carroll becomes the second coach in the history of NCAA Division III women’s hockey to reach the 300-win milestone. In the history of all divisions of women’s collegiate hockey, Carroll becomes the eighth coach to ever win 300 games.
“Well it feels great,” admitted a humble Carroll when asked about his accomplishment. “I was joking with the players that they were paying me back for putting them through the toughest practice of the year on Monday by making me a little nervous tonight.”
The feeling of accomplishment is something that is shared by his players. “We have been fortunate to have a lot of success over the past few years and he has been leading the way,” stated Christensen. “It is special for us to see him win his 300th game. He deserves it.”
“I just want to thank Gustavus and everyone who has supported me to this point,” Carroll finished. “They have given me the opportunity to coach, and they’ve stuck with me. The longer you’re here, you’re bound to reach some milestones, but it still means a lot. Now that it’s over we can put it behind us, move forward and go for the next one.”
The Gusties will travel to Drake Arena in St. Paul tomorrow afternoon for a rematch with St. Catherine at 2:00 p.m.