St. Peter, Minn. – After scoring two power play goals a night before, the Gustavus women’s hockey team used three more goals with a one-skater advantage to propel itself to a 6-2 win over St. Olaf on Saturday afternoon. Five different Gusties scored goals in the game, which saw a combined 14 power play opportunities between the two teams. Saturday’s win completes the sweep of St. Olaf for Gustavus, which improves to 22-0-1 (16-0-0 MIAC) on the season. St. Olaf falls to 11-10-2 (7-8-1 MIAC).
“We got the sweep, which was the important thing coming in,” stated assistant coach Kirstin Peterson. “Last night we didn’t play as well as we thought we could, but you have to give credit to St. Olaf for coming back to score all of their goals. Today was a little different. We settled down in our d-zone a little bit and we were able to put the puck in the net, so we couldn’t ask for much better.”
Following a 7-4 victory in Northfield on Friday night, the Gusties seemingly picked up where they left off offensively with two goals to start the opening period. Kelly Thotland (So., Edina, Minn.) started off the scoring 1:39 into the game when she brought the puck from the corner all the way to the slot and beat St. Olaf goaltender Ali McKeever in the top right corner of the net to give Gustavus the early 1-0 lead. Thotland, a defender on this year’s squad, had not scored a goal since Nov. 30th in a 5-0 win over Augsburg.
“It’s always a nice when our defenders come up with a point simply because their job is to play defense first, so if they get any offensive opportunities, it’s a bonus for us,” mentioned Peterson of Thotland’s goal.
Gustavus got its second power play opportunity of the game at the 8:53 mark of the first period. With :48 seconds remaining on the advantage, Lindsey Hjelm (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) fired a slap shot from the left point towards the back post where Meagan Wanecke (Sr., Delafield, Wis.) sat waiting to deflect the puck past McKeever and into the back of the net for her 11th goal of the season. For Wanecke, it was the third consecutive game in which she has scored a goal, and extended her point-streak to five games. In those five games, the senior has scored three goals to go along with four assists.
St. Olaf got on the scoreboard when it took advantage of the first Gustavus penalty of the afternoon. Alison Umland brought the puck up the boards into the Gustie zone. After weaving through traffic, she found Katie Moeller all alone on the doorstep. Moeller put the puck away with just :02 seconds remaining on the power play to cut the lead to 2-1, which is where it would stay for the remainder of the period.
Melissa Doyle (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) opened up the second period with her eighth goal of the season 3:05 into the frame. Doyle took advantage of a misplayed puck off of a St. Olaf stick and buried a one-timer to put the Gusties on top 3-1. Just :48 seconds later, however, the Oles capitalized on another Gustavus penalty. Off the opening face-off of the power play, Caroline Ponessa fired a wrister from the left point that found its way through heavy traffic in front of the net and past Gustavus goalie Colleen Jacoby (Fy., Muskegon, Mich.) to narrow the deficit to 3-2. It took just :06 seconds for St. Olaf to score its second power play goal in as many tries on the afternoon.
“Our penalty kill hasn’t been where we want it to be lately, so it is definitely a point that we need to address this week in practice,” said coach Peterson. “We gave up two goals on the power play today, so that is something we really need to tighten up.”
Gustavus had the answer on its own power play at the 6:23 mark. Carolyn Draayer (So., Deephaven, Minn.) found herself in the right place, at the right time. After bouncing up in the air, the puck came down on Draayer’s stick in the high slot. The sophomore fired immediately and sniped the top left corner of the goal to put the Gusties in front by two goals with the score 4-2. Neither team would score for the remainder of the second period.
In the third period, it took all of :46 seconds for the Gusties to tack on an insurance goal. Allison Eder-Zdechlik (Fy., Stillwater, Minn.) scored her third goal of the weekend when she put back a rebound to make the score 5-2. The final goal of the game came on yet another Gustavus power play when Jenna Christensen (Sr., Albert Lea, Minn.) found Carolyn Draayer in the slot. Draayer made one move with the puck and flipped the backhand up and in to put the final stamp on the 6-2 victory.
“Carolyn has seemed to be in a little bit of a dry spell for part of this season, but she has gotten a couple of goals the past few games, so I’m happy for her because she’s such a hard-working player,” added Peterson. “Really, all of the other lines are producing as well. They work hard and it’s good to see some goals come out of it.”
In her third collegiate start, Colleen Jacoby went the distance to record the win. The first-year tallied 18 saves, including some key stops of shots from point-blank range, while giving up two goals. With the win, Jacoby moves to 4-0-0 on the year.
“Our goaltenders haven’t seen too many shots lately, but they saw more this weekend and that has helped them to get some more game action than what they have been seeing so far this season,” stated coach Peterson.
The Gusties took advantage of a season-high eight power plays in the game, scoring on three of them. Gustavus got off a total of 18 shots on the advantage, and scored a power play goal in each period. Meanwhile, St. Olaf converted on two of their six power play opportunities while getting off 10 shots.
Gustavus will close its regular season with an MIAC series next weekend against Saint Benedict. Friday night’s game is set for a 7:30 p.m. start in St. Cloud, Minn. On Saturday, the two teams will return to St. Peter, Minn. for a 2:00 p.m. opening face-off on Senior Day at Don Roberts Ice Rink.
“Being the last weekend of the season, we want to come out with a couple of wins, but Friday is the next game, which makes it the most important,” finished Peterson. “We have been focusing on a game at a time this season, and that is how we are going to continue to approach it. If we can get our penalty kill back in line and play our systems well, we should be in a good position to be successful.”