Blaine, Minn. – Allison Eder-Zdechlik (So., Stillwater, Minn.) scored two goals in a 3-2 win over Bethel for the Gustavus women’s hockey team on Friday night at the National Sports Center. With the win, the Gusties improve to 16-6-2 overall and 14-3-0 in the MIAC, while the Royals drop to 16-6-2 overall and 12-5-0 in league play. The two teams will square off again tomorrow in the season finale at Don Roberts Ice Rink. That game is set for a 2:00 p.m., opening face off.
With conference title hopes on the line heading into this weekend’s final regular season series, Gustavus set the tone early on Friday night, scoring a goal in the opening minute to take an early 1-0 lead. The goal came just 47 seconds after the opening face off when Melissa Doyle (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) put the puck away after receiving assists from Halie Gudmonson (Fy., Albertville, Minn.) and Emily Reibert (So., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.).
The goal was Doyle’s 10th of the season and would prove to be the only score of the opening period, as the two squads played to a scoreless tie for the remaining 19-plus minutes. Not only did Gustavus set the tone with the early goal, it also outshot Bethel by a count of 12-5 in the opening frame.
In the second period, the two teams were much more evenly matched, as the shot total read 9 to 9 in the frame. Each team also scored one goal apiece in the period. Gustavus was the first to score, adding to its lead at the 16:02 mark when Allison Eder-Zdechlik scored her first of two goals on the night to give her team a 2-0 lead. Courtney Boucher (Jr., Hastings, Minn.) and Lydia Wagner (Fy., Zumbrota, Minn.) assisted on the goal, which was Eder-Zdechlik’s 18th of the year.
Bethel responded just over a minute later when Kalie Johnson scored her eighth goal of the season to pull her team within a goal (2-1) at the 17:18 mark. Johnson used helpers from Cristina Masten and Megan Niblock on the score. No more goals would be scored in the period and the two teams went to the locker room at the second intermission with Gustavus leading on the scoreboard 2-1.
In the third period, the Gusties struck in the opening minute once again. This time, it took just 15 seconds for Gustavus to add to its lead. Eder-Zdechlik scored her second goal of the evening and 19th of the season to put her team on top 3-1. Amanda Cartony (Sr., Stillwater, Minn.) and Carolyn Draayer (Jr., Deephaven, Minn.) provided assists on the goal.
The score would prove to be the game-winner, as the Royals took advantage of a power play opportunity midway through the final period. Lauren Kolak found the back of the net with dimes from Kathryn Larson and Lindsay Burman at the 11:16 mark to cut the lead to a single goal (3-2).
Bethel would have one more chance with the skater advantage, but could not take advantage and the Gusties escaped with the 3-2 win.
For the game, the Gusties held a shot advantage of 28-18. Gustavus was also held scoreless on two power play chances, while Bethel converted on one of five.
Between the pipes, Tara Hoverstad (So., Coon Rapids, Minn.) was awarded the win after allowing two goals and making 16 saves in a 60-minute effort. Erika Allen went wire-to-wire in net for the Royals, suffering the loss in a 25-save effort.
With tonight’s result, Bethel’s conference title hopes are dashed, as it now sits four points out of the lead with just one game remaining. St. Thomas defeated Saint Benedict 4-2 on Friday night, meaning the Gusties and the Tommies remain tied atop the league standings. With a win tomorrow, Gustavus will clinch at least a share of the MIAC regular season crown.
Tomorrow afternoon’s game is also designated as Senior Day. Three seniors will be honored in their final regular season game at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Those seniors include Maddie Bergh (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Amanda Cartony, and Melissa Doyle.