Gustavus To Host Opening Round Of NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship

Posted on March 8th, 2018 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team was awarded an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship and was also selected to host the opening and first round games Friday and Saturday night. Friday’s game features Gustavus (20-3-4) and UW-Eau Claire (18-6-4) with the winner facing Hamline (20-4-3) on Saturday. Both games will be played at Don Roberts Ice Rink, starting at 7 p.m.

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Ticket information: Tickets will be available at the main entrance (second level) to Don Roberts Ice Rink in the Lund Center one hour prior to each game. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students, $3 for children ages 5-12, and free to any child younger than five years old.

Scouting the Gusties: Gustavus finished the MIAC regular season 13-2-3 to claim its 15th conference championship. As the No. 1 seed in the league playoffs, the Gusties received a first round bye and then defeated Bethel 4-0 in the semifinals, advancing to the conference championship game for the first time in four years. Gustavus then faced Hamline in the MIAC playoff title game with the Pipers coming out on top 4-1, snapping an eight-game winning and 12-game unbeaten streak. The Gusties have the fourth best winning percentage in Division III at .815 and are ranked 10th in scoring margin at 1.74. Gustavus averages 3.15 goals scored and allows 1.35 goals per game. They convert 22.8 percent on the power play and kill off opponents’ power plays at 90.4 percent. Kaitlyn Klein leads the offense with 42 points on 23 goals and 19 assists. Diana Draayer has 34 points on 18 goals and 16 assists, while Erica Power has 31 points on 12 goals and 19 assists. Amanda DiNella has started 24 games in goal with a 1.35 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.

Scouting the Blugolds: UW-Eau Claire earned an at-large bid from Pool C (independent institution that was not selected for the Pool B berth) into the NCAA Championship after a 3-2 double overtime upset victory at UW-River Falls. The Blugolds enter the national tournament on a four-game winning and nine-game unbeaten streak. UW-Eau Claire has scored 88 goals this season and has six shutouts, both 10th best in Division III. Its winning percentage of .714 is 11th best in the nation and the scoring margin of 1.61 ranks 12th. The Blugolds average 3.14 goals and allow 1.39 goals per game. They convert 17.5 percent on the power play and kill off opponents’ power plays 86.4 percent. Courtney Wittig and Elizabeth Bauer have led the offense all season with 31 and 25 points, respectively. Wittig has 13 goals and 18 assists, while Bauer has nine goals and 16 assists. Holly Turnbull is tied for the team lead with 13 goals. Erin Connolly has started 26 games in goal with a 1.40 goals against average and .928 save percentage.

Scouting the Pipers: After finishing last season with a losing record, Hamline has improved to a 20-4-3 record and claimed the program’s first MIAC playoff championship last Saturday with a 4-1 upset win at Gustavus. The Pipers finished the regular season with a tie and loss to St. Thomas, costing them the MIAC regular season title, but rebounded with playoff wins over Augsburg and the Gusties to earn an automatic qualifier and No. 1 seed in the West Region of the national tournament. Hamline averages 4.67 goals per game and allows 1.87 per game. Its 126 goals this season are fifth most in Division III and the .796 winning percentage is sixth best. The Pipers convert 27.5 percent on the power play and kill off opponents’ power plays at 85.5 percent. Bre Simon and Sarah Bobrowski lead the team with 55 and 53 points, respectively. Simon has 30 goals and 25 assists, while Bobrowski has 16 goals and 37 assists. Simon’s 2.04 points per game leads the nation and her 1.11 goals per game ranks second. Bobrowski leads the nation with 1.37 assists per game. McKenna Huslander has started 14 games in goal with a 2.10 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.

NCAA tournament history: Gustavus is appearing in the NCAA Championships for the 13th time and has an all-time record of 10-16. Only Middlebury (15), Elmira (14), and Plattsburgh State (14) have more appearances at the NCAA Championships in its 17-year history. Both UW-Eau Claire and Hamline are making their first appearances at the NCAA tournament.

Last time they met – Gusties vs. Blugolds: The No. 7-ranked Gustavus women’s hockey team responded twice being down by a goal in the home opener at Don Roberts Ice Rink, eventually coming to a 2-2 draw after overtime versus the No. 10-ranked University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Nov. 4.

The Blugolds took the first lead in the first period as Emily Bauer collected a rebound to score at the 7:22 mark. The visitors outshot the Gusties 10-8 and took their 1-0 lead into the intermission.

Gustavus knotted the score at 1-1 early into the second frame after the break. Katy Fuller took a well-placed shot off the pad of Blugold netminder Eric Connolly that went onto the tape of Kaitlyn Klein as she buried her second goal in as many games.

Two power play opportunities for each team filled up the majority of the second period before UW-Eau Claire applied pressure late in the second, eventually finishing with just 11 seconds remaining in the frame to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. Kelly Knetter scored the goal.

Once again, the Black and Gold came out after the intermission and tied the game. Three minutes into the final period, senior co-captain Diana Draayer capitalized on a breakaway opportunity for her first goal of the season, receiving a pass from Fuller – her second helper of the game.

Gustie goaltender Amanda DiNella tallied 25 saves in net, fending off a 10-5 Blugold shot advantage in the third period to lockdown the 2-2 draw. Erin Connolly made 19 saves in goal for the Blugolds.

Last time out: The Gusties lost to Hamline 4-1 last Saturday afternoon in the MIAC playoff championship game at Don Roberts Ice Rink.

The Pipers started quick early in the first period, controlling their offensive zone for a majority of the opening minutes and were rewarded with a goal at the 5:42 mark. Exactly midway through the first period, Hamline took a 2-0 lead on another even-strength goal. The Gusties found themselves on the power play late in the opening frame and took advantage of the opportunity as Diana Draayer scored her 18th goal of the season on a perfect pass from Kaitlyn Klein with 38 seconds remaining.

The second period was on pace for a scoreless 20-minute section before the Pipers scored on a breakaway with 33 seconds left in the middle frame, taking a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes of play. And with time dwindling down in the third period, Gustavus pulled goalie Amanda DiNella with 2:26 left in the game and the Pipers found the empty net 32 seconds later to secure the victory.

The Gusties out-shot the Pipers 36-24 and killed of both Hamline power plays, but went just 1-for-4 on the skater advantage. DiNella made 20 saves in the loss, while her counterpart McKenna Hulslander made 35 saves.

Racking up the points: Kaitlyn Klein enters Friday’s game with 23 goals and 42 points. Her 0.85 goals per game average is seventh best in Division III and her 1.5 points per game ranks 11th. Klein is having the greatest offensive season by a Gustavus women’s hockey player since Allie Schwab tallied 25 goals and 46 points in the 2011-12 season.

Climbing the ranks: Amanda DiNella is one of three Gustavus goalies to post at least 1,000 career saves. DiNella currently has 1,168 saves, sitting 25 behind Lindsey Hibbard (1,193) and 148 behind record holder Danielle Justice (1,316). Her 15 career shutouts are second in program history behind Justice’s 24.

 

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