Superior, Wis. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey concluded its season with a 4-0 loss to the State University of New York, Plattsburgh Saturday afternoon at Wessman Arena. After the Gusties controlled possession for the entire first period, it was the Cardinals who were able to get on the scoreboard with a goal late in the frame. Plattsburgh would not look back following the goal. Gustavus finishes its season fourth in the nation with a record of 27-2-1, tied for the most wins in a season in NCAA history since the donning of the NCAA Championship era, which began in the 2001-02 season. Likewise, Plattsburgh finishes with 27 wins and an overall record of 27-1-2.
After suffering a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in overtime less than 24 hours before, the Gusties came out and dominated a majority of the opening frame. Gustavus outshot Plattsburgh 12-1 in the period, but the Cardinals made the most of their one opportunity by scoring to take a 1-0 lead.
After Gustavus took back-to-back penalties that gave Plattsburgh a five-on-three advantage, Allison Era sniped a rocket into the top right corner of the net at the 15:45 mark. Heavy traffic in front of the net screened Gustavus goaltender Lindsey Hibbard (Fy., Princeton, Minn.), marring her vision and aiding the puck into the back of the net. From there, the two teams headed to the first intermission with the Cardinals leading 1-0.
“We knew we had a short turnaround and that we were going to need to recover quickly,” said Head Coach Mike Carroll of the minimal recovery time after last night’s contest. “Our plan was to come out fast and try to get a couple right away – feed off that energy and let it carry us through. Although the scoreboard didn’t indicate it, we did that.”
Plattsburgh added to their lead late in the second period when a defensive breakdown for Gustavus led to a two-on-one opportunity for the Cardinals. Shannon Stewart took the first shot, which was stopped by Hibbard, but the rebound came out on the other post to Teal Gove with nobody near her. The 2013 AHCA Player-of-the-Year made good on the open net and put Plattsburgh on top 2-0 with just 2:09 to play in the second period.
Plattsburgh went on to score two more goals in the third and final period to cap off the 4-0 win. On the power play at the 9:03 mark, Jenny Kistner picked the puck out of the air and fired a strike from the left dot into the top right corner of the net to score Plattsburgh’s second power play goal of the game and take a 3-0 lead. Seven minutes later, a rebound came off the pipe to a waiting Gove, who made good on her second goal of the game to put the Cardinals on top 4-0, which is where the score would stay until the final buzzer sounded.
“Plattsburgh has a great power play and today they took advantage,” mentioned Carroll. “They capitalized on their opportunities and were the better team today. I thought we did a lot of really good things. Turnovers hurt us once again, but that’s all apart of hockey. I feel bad for the seniors because they don’t have another opportunity, but our team will be just fine and this will give us incentive next year.”
For the game, the Gusties held the advantage in shots on goal with a tally of 25-11, but could not get the bounce they needed to find the back of the net. Lindsey Hibbard suffered the loss in net for Gustavus after making seven saves and giving up four goals. Sydney Aveson was the winning goalie following a 25-save shutout.
As has become a custom in the last game of the season for any team at Gustavus, the Gusties were shown support throughout the entirety of the game, which came to a culmination in the last minute of the game. With the outcome all but decided, the Gustavus student body present began chants of “Thank you seniors,” and the Gustie rouser, a class act that is indeed warranted for this year’s senior class of Jenna Christensen (Albert Lea, Minn.), Lindsey Hjelm (North Oaks, Minn.), Kayla Ingbretson (Mound, Minn.), Kelsey Kennedy (Eagan, Minn.), and Meagan Wanecke (Delafield, Wis.).
Following the game, captain Jenna Christensen had this to say about her fellow senior teammates, “I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to spend these four years with. I think we did more than what was expected of us this season and although last night’s loss was disappointing, I couldn’t have shared this journey with a better group of teammates.”
Fellow captain Lindsey Hjelm and Coach Carroll echoed Christensen’s thoughts of the team as a whole. “This is the most memorable experience of my four years in this tournament,” said Hjelm. “The progression that our team has continued to make at this level demonstrates the direction our program is headed. This weekend was a great example of the type of hockey the west is capable of. I have complete confidence in Gustavus moving forward and am proud to have played four years here.”
“For its chemistry and coachability, this team is number one,” said Carroll about where this team ranks during his tenure at Gustavus. “I told the girls in the locker room that if someone would have told me at the beginning of the season that we were going to lose just two games, I would have told them they were nuts. Once the dust settles, were are going to have an awful lot to be proud of. Our leadership this season was incredible and that made my job really easy and really fun. I can’t say enough about this group.”
The NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Committee selected the following players to the 2013 NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship All-Tournament Team following Saturday’s Championship.
Goaltender: Lauren Sullivan, Elmira
Defense: Lindsey Hjelm, Gustavus Adolphus
Defense: Heather Marrison, Middlebury
Forwawrd: Jenny Kistner, Plattsburgh
Forward: Ashley Ryan, Elmira
Forward: Taylor Steadman, Elmira