St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey team’s five-game win streak came to an end on Friday night as the Gusties suffered their first conference loss of the season. The Gusties were unable to overcome a 3-0 first-period deficit, falling 4-2 to 10th-place Saint Benedict in Friday night’s contest on Don Roberts Ice Rink. Following the loss, the Gusties fall to 12-4-2 overall and 10-1-0 in the MIAC, while the Blazers improve to 5-13-0 overall and 2-9-0 in the MIAC.
The Blazers took advantage of two missed plays on the blue line, scoring on both of them, before adding a goal on the power play to head into the first intermission with a 3-0 advantage. Saint Ben’s jumped out to the early lead when a breakaway by Aly Hoffman resulted in a goal two minutes and 57 seconds into the first period. Hoffman beat the Gustavus defenders and snuck the puck past starting goalie Amanda Koep (So., St. Michael, Minn.) to net the goal.
Five minutes later, Blazer Stephanie Kirk raced past the Gustie defense on a breakaway, burying the puck in the top right corner of the net to giver her team a two-goal lead.
A penalty on Courtney Bethune (Fy., Fort Frances, Ont.) for hooking at the 9:59 mark in the first period put the Blazers on the player-advantage and they made the best of it. Elli Marvin fired a shot from the left circle into a flurry of activity in front of the net, resulting in a goal. The puck slid past the defense and slowly glided past Koep into the net. Stephanie Kirk was credited with the assist, sending the two teams into the locker rooms with Saint Ben’s leading 3-0.
“We didn’t play well. We didn’t come ready to play for whatever reason. A couple poor turnovers in the neutral zone got us down, then when they got the third goal. I don’t think anyone on our team has been in that position in their entire college career—being down by three goals. So it was a true test for us to see what we could do to work through that,” Head Coach Mike Carroll said.
The Gusties played more aggressively in the second period, getting on the scoreboard within the first four minutes of play. Allison Eder-Zdechlik (So., Stillwater, Minn.) scored her 14th goal of the season at the 3:25 mark bringing the score to 3-1. Eder-Zdechlik was assisted by Melissa Doyle (Sr.,White Bear Lake, Minn.) and Halie Gudmonson (Fy., Albertville, Minn.).
With Marissa Brandt (Jr., Vadnais Heights) in the box for tripping and less than four minutes remaining in the second period, the Blazers capitalized on another power play to score their final goal of the night. Alli O’Brien found a hole in the defense and shot the puck from the left circle, sending it flying past Koep and into the net. The two teams headed into the second intermission with the Blazers leading 4-1.
Five minutes into the third period Eder-Zdechlik scored her second goal of the night. Eder-Zdechlik used a breakaway to get past the defense and sink the puck into the back of the net, changing the score to 4-2 where it would stay for the rest of the night. The Gusties pulled their goalie with 30 seconds remaining, but couldn’t erase the two-goal deficit and suffered the loss.
After scoring two goals in tonight’s game, Eder-Zdechlik leads the conference with 15 goals on the season.
Gustavus outshot their conference-foe in every period, finishing the night with a shot-advantage of 41-20, but were only able to convert two of their shots into goals.
“We had plenty of opportunities but sometimes when you get those opportunities or you try to do your part to help the team you try to do too much. I don’t think we used our teammates enough and we didn’t make some smart hockey decisions to control the play. I’ve got to hand it to Saint Ben’s—they did a really good job of controlling play and they won a lot of critical races when they needed to. That’s the really disappointing thing, as a coach, because over the years we’ve hung our hat on our effort and winning races and for whatever reason that just wasn’t there tonight,” Carroll said.
Between the pipes, Jenna Traut recorded the win for Saint Ben’s, playing all 60 minutes and making 39 saves. Amanda Koep suffered the loss for Gustavus, playing 40 minutes and making 10 saves.
The two teams will square off against each other again tomorrow afternoon in St. Cloud at the Municipal Athletic Complex, with a 2:00 p.m., opening face off.
“We understand the magnitude of what happened but we also know that the rest of the season is in front of us and we are going to challenge ourselves, so this was a wake-up call,” Carroll concluded.