Women’s Hockey Bends But Doesn’t Break in NCAA Opening Round Victory

Posted on March 9th, 2022 by

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

SAINT PETER, Minn. – Gustavus women’s hockey spent more time in its defensive zone than it has in quite some time Wednesday night, but stood tall against a physical UW-Eau Claire squad and came away with a 3-0 victory in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The Gusties, who used two empty net goals in the final two minutes to seal the win, improve to 23-3-2 overall and will travel to UW-River Falls on Saturday for a quarterfinal matchup.

“We’re really happy that we had such a great atmosphere here with a lot of fans and I’m proud of our team because we played a very good team tonight and they gave us everything we could handle,” Head Coach Mike Carroll said. “We hung with it and found a way and that’s what the game is all about.”

The first period was a back-and-forth affair but after 20 minutes neither team found the back of the net with the Gusties holding a 7-3 edge in shots. After winning a neutral ice faceoff three minutes into the second period, Sophia Coltvet (So., Arden Hills) won a puck battle in front of the benches and found Emily Olson (Jr., Delano) up the right side where Olson put home her 15th goal of the season in the top right corner of the net over the glove of Stephanie Martin. After the Gustie goal, the home squad spent a majority of the second period in its defensive zone, but Katie McCoy (Jr., Grafton, Wis.) made a number of impressive saves to maintain the lead and the score remained 1-0 after 40 minutes.

“Some of the better teams around probably don’t spend as much time in the defensive zone on a regular basis so it is hard to duplicate that in practice and there certainly was a time or two where we got stuck on our end with our shifts and couldn’t change, but we hung with it and pucks bounced where they needed to bounce and if we did have to get rid of it we put it in a safe zone,” Carroll said. “Of course it takes a little but of luck, too, but it helped our team gain some confidence and this game made our team better.”

Gustavus continued to fend off a number of Blugold scoring chances in the third with the biggest threat coming off a neutral ice turnover, resulting in a Hanna Zavoral breakaway, but McCoy made the biggest save of the game with just 4:01 left in regulation. Two minutes later, UW-Eau Claire was forced to go with an empty net and the Gusties took advantage as Madigan Goldsworthy (Sr., Chaska) corralled a loose puck at center and fired a shot from the blue line for the empty-netter. Less than a minute later, Tina Press (Sr., Cottage Grove) skated free in the Blugold zone for a tap-in empty-netter to secure the victory.

McCoy and the Gustie defense earned their NCAA-leading 16th team shutout of the season as McCoy stopped all 14 shots she faced. The Gusties outshot the Blugolds 24-14 in the game. Both teams were unsuccessful on the power play with the Gusties going 0-for-2 and the Blugolds 0-for-1.

Saturday’s NCAA quarterfinal game at UW-River Falls is slated for 3 p.m. with the winner advancing to the national semifinals at a site to be determined after Saturday’s results.

 

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