St. Peter, Minn. – After scoring two goals early in the third period to take a 3-1 lead, the Gustavus women’s hockey team allowed a power play goal with two minutes remaining in the game, but held on for a 3-2 win over Augsburg on Saturday afternoon at Don Roberts Ice Rink. With the win, the Gusties improve to 10-3-2 overall and 8-0-0 in the MIAC, while Augsburg drops to 5-10-0 overall and 2-6-0 in league play.
“We got the win, and that’s what is most important,” stated Head Coach Mike Carroll following the victory. “I have to give credit to Augsburg. Michelle [McAteer] has done a great job coaching that team. They are so much more competitive and it’s good for the league because it is going to make it more balanced from top to bottom. That being said, I thought our team did a great job of finding a way to get the job done. We’ve been talking about it, and we did it tonight.”
Gustavus opened up a 1-0 lead late in the first period when Melissa Doyle (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) scored her sixth goal of the season. The goal was a result of a Courtney Bethune (Fy., Fort Frances, Ont.) pass from near the point to the opposite post where Doyle one-timed it into the back of the net.
The goal came at the 17:06 mark and would prove to be the only score in the period. In the frame, Gustavus outshot Augsburg 12-3.
The tides turned in the second period, as Augsburg came back to even the game at 1-1. It was Darby Lindgren with the goal for the Auggies, who only managed to tally two shots on net in the frame. Lindgren’s seventh goal of the season came on an assist by Claire Cripps.
Neither team would score for the remainder of the period and the two teams headed to the third and final frame deadlocked with a score of one apiece.
Gustavus wasted little time regaining the lead in the third. Allison Eder-Zdechlik (So., Stillwater, Minn.) outraced an Augsburg defender to create a breakaway opportunity that did not go to waste, as she finished past Auggie goaltender Brianna Schulz to put her team back in front 2-1. Emily Reibert (So., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) was credited with an assist on the play.
Nearly eight minutes later, Emily Gustafson (Fy., Esko, Minn.) found herself in the right place at the right time when she netted her second goal of the season. The puck came free near the slot and Gustafson sent it sliding past Schulz to give the Gusties a 3-1 lead. Keri Pickel (Sr., Rochester, Minn.) was given the assist.
From there, Gustavus went on to control the remainder of the period until the Gusties found themselves at a skater disadvantage. Back-to-back penalties with less than a minute between one another gave Augsburg the opportunity it needed to get back in the game.
After the Gusties successfully killed the first power play, the Auggies needed just 16 seconds of their second advantage to cut the lead to one goal. Danielle Heitkamp fired a shot from the blue line that was tipped into the back of the net by Rachel Hennessy to bring the score to 3-2. It was as close as Augsburg would come, though, as the Gusties held on for the win.
“We got in some penalty trouble and gave up the power play goal, which wasn’t ideal, but regardless of how the game might have looked from the stands, thinking we could have done this, or could have done that, we did what we needed to do to win,” mentioned Carroll. “The shots were quite a bit in our favor and our energy on the bench was really good. Our girls are in tune and focused, which is great, we just have to play better and be more consistent.”
Indeed shots were in favor of Gustavus, who held a 32-7 advantage in the game. Augsburg’s seven shots on Saturday are the fewest allowed in a game since Feb. 22nd of last season when the Gusties held Saint Benedict to seven shots in a 1-0 win in St. Cloud.
Between the pipes, Lindsey Hibbard (So., Princeton, Minn.) started the game and played 31:10, making four saves, but it was Marah Sobczak (Sr., Stillwater, Minn.) who recorded the win for the Gusties. Sobczak finished the remaining 28:50, allowing one goal and making a save to improve her record to 2-0-0 on the year. Schulz was tagged with the loss after allowing three goals and making 29 saves.
The Gustavus women will be back in action next weekend when they take on Saint Mary’s in a two-game MIAC series on Friday and Saturday. Friday night’s contest is set for a 7:00 p.m., opening face off in Winona, while Saturday’s game is an afternoon start at 2:00 p.m.