Power Play Goals Lead Women’s Hockey In NCAA First Round Win

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

RIVER FALLS, Wis. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team scored twice on the power play en route to defeating the University of Wisconsin-River Falls by a score of 3-2 in a NCAA Tournament first round matchup Friday evening at Hunt Arena.

Appearing in its first NCAA Tournament since 2013, Gustavus avenged its two regular season losses against UW-River Falls to advance to a NCAA Championship Semifinal game.

With the score deadlocked at 2-2 near the end of the third period, a power play goal from Kaitlyn Klein (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) with 3:53 left in the game along with a strong goaltending performance by Amanda DiNella (So., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.) lifted the Gusties to their first NCAA Tournament victory in four years.

The Gusties took an early 1-0 lead on Allie Lewis’ (Sr., Kearney, Neb.) ninth goal of the season. Lewis crashed the net and put home the rebound after an Erica Power (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) backhand shot from the high slot, just 6:27 after the opening face off. 

“We didn’t play particularly well in the first period overall, but we got that goal and that was sort of a sign that it might be our night if we keep hanging with it,” said Head Coach Mike Carroll.

Kaitlyn Klein and teammates celebrate her eventual game-winner.

The one-goal lead would carry over into the second period despite the Falcons out shooting the Gusties by a margin of 12-4 in the first stanza.

UW-River Falls tied the game 5:44 into the second frame at 1-1, where the score stood for the remainder of the period, out shooting Gustavus again 15-11.

Just 32 seconds into the final period, the Falcons converted on the power play to take a 2-1 lead. Despite allowing its first deficit of the game, the Gusties didn’t allow UW-River Falls to take control for long.

The Gusties added a power play goal of their own at the 4:39 minute mark. Power won the draw back to Kristen Cash (Fy., Roseville, Minn.), who took a shot from the point that redirected its way past the Falcon netminder to tie the game at 2-2.

With four minutes remaining in the game, the Falcons were handed an interference penalty in which Gustavus quickly took advantage.

On the ensuing face off, a fitting game-winner went to the Gusties’ Kaitlyn Klein, as she tallied her team-leading 11th goal of the season after coming back from a season-ending broken neck a season ago. With help from Emily Gustafson (Sr., Esko, Minn.) and Diana Draayer (Jr., Deephaven, Minn.), Klein buried a rebound as she was placed in the perfect spot back door on the man advantage.

After the Gusties go-ahead goal at the 16:07 mark, they were able to hold on for the final minutes, securing the 3-2 win. Gustavus finished the night going 2-5 on the power play, while UW-River Falls was 1-4. The Gustavus special teams performance proved to be the difference despite the Falcons outshooting the Gusties by a margin of 40-20.

Amanda DiNella notched a career-high 38 saves.

“Between the second and third, we had a talk and said, it’s a 20 minute hockey game,” Carroll commented. “It is a chance to go somewhere that you may never have an opportunity to go. I just hand it to the kids, they hung with it. We beat a heck of a hockey team and I’m really proud of everyone.”

Power tallied a pair of assists while DiNella’s career-high 38 saves, 13 coming in the third period alone to also play big factors in the win.

“My heart was definitely racing,” DiNella spoke about the Gusties holding on in the final minutes of the game. “They were blocking shots and selling out for me, I don’t think I saw many shots in the last couple minutes. We just had to bear down and get it done. It was awesome to see.”

Gustavus, now 18-6-3 overall, will face the winner of Adrian College and Elmira College next Friday in search of its first semifinal win since the 2000-01 season, in which the Gusties finished as the runner-up.

 

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