Women’s Hockey Wins Program’s First National Championship in Triple Overtime Thriller Posted on March 19th, 2023 by


AMHERST, Mass. — Everything looks better in gold — including the Gustavus women’s hockey team.

A year after falling to Middlebury in the national championship game, the Gusties got revenge on the East Coast, winning the program’s first-ever national title in a triple overtime 2-1 thriller over Amherst. The game set a record as the longest title game in NCAA DIII hockey history, as it was the first to ever surpass one overtime. With a run time of 101:33, the game will go in the record books as the longest game ever played by the Gusties women’s hockey team, surpassing their 3-2 loss to UW-Eau Claire in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament that lasted 101:02. The victory marks the first NCAA title for a MIAC women’s hockey team and the first for any team in the West region.

In a game full of ups and downs, Lily Mortenson (Fy., Champlin), Kaitlyn Holland (So., Aberdeen, S.D.), and Katie McCoy (Sr., Grafton, Wis.) grounded the Gusties, as Mortenson and Holland scored the two goals — over an hour apart from each other — while McCoy stood tall in net as she has done all season to pick up the victory and NCAA Tournament MVP status.

The Gusties started the game with a flurry of chances, as Mortenson took a shot less than two minutes into the first that rebounded directly onto the stick of Clara Billings (Sr., Rochester), whose shot was just barely saved by Amherst first-year goaltender Natalie Stott. Brooke Power (Jr., Lakeville) duplicated the chance shortly after on her own 2-on-1 opportunity but was once again met by Stott between the pipes. The Gusties totaled six shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the game and kept the Mammoths from even one until a pair of penalties in the second half of the period. The Gustie offensive momentum was shifted to the penalty kill unit, which successfully killed off back-to-back Mammoth power play opportunities to end period one.

In the crease for the Mammoths, goaltender Natalie Stott hadn’t let a goal past her in nearly a month, cruising to five shutouts in a row, including all of Amherst’s NESCAC and NCAA playoff competitions. Stott, however, hadn’t matched up with the best in the West, as the Gusties broke her shutout streak that lasted 361:36 over the six games at 14:46 of the second period.

It seemed only right that Lily Mortenson would be the hero once more, as the first-year scored the opening goal for her second in as many games. Mortenson, who called the semifinal matchup with Plattsburgh in double overtime, kept the goals flowing Sunday to get the Gusties on the board. Gabby Slykas (Sr., Culver, Ind.) stepped into the Amherst zone to keep the puck in at the blue line, sending it to the stick of Mortenson who walked in tight on Stott, stuffing the puck into the bottom right corner.

The Gusties entered the third period needing to only outlast the Mammoths for 20 minutes to earn their first-ever National Championship. The Mammoths peppered McCoy throughout the period, and the Gusties returned the favor, getting opportunities from the duo of Power and Billings who forced Stott to make a sprawling save halfway through the period. With 1:49 left in the game and the Gusties still with the 1-0 lead, Amherst pulled Stott out for the extra skater. The 6-on-5 play proved to be successful, as a shot from defender Emily Hohmann at the point was tipped short-side on Katie McCoy by Carley Daly with 1:12 to play in regulation.

From there, the game quickly evolved into a marathon, becoming the longest championship game in NCAA DIII hockey history after overtime one elapsed. The Gusties controlled the extra periods, outshooting the Mammoths 31-12. Hailey Holland (Sr., Aberdeen, S.D.) and Tina Press (Sr., Cottage Grove) combined for a series of chances in each overtime period. The elder Holland sister, determined to put an end to the madness, tallied five shots over the three extra periods, but it would be her sister to the rescue 1:33 into overtime No. 3.

But who else other than Lily Mortenson to start the game-winning play? The freshman picked up the puck in the offensive zone at the top of the circle and sent a shot seemingly wide on net. Stott stepped in to make the save and was met by Clara Billings who found the puck loose on her pad and sent it to the right post where Kaitlyn Holland jammed it over the goal line for the most important goal of her career thus far.

Mortenson finished with the lead in points in the game, getting an assist on Holland’s tally for two in the championship. In over 100 minutes of play, Hailey Holland led the game in shots on goal, tallying 11 on Stott, contributing to a total of 59 on net by the Gusties, a season-high. Katie McCoy enjoyed a shutout for most of the game, but ended making 33 saves on 34 shots, including 12 in the three overtime periods.

Fifth-years Tina Press, Kayla Vrieze (Sr., Eagan), and Gabby Slykas all finished their career in a Gustie jersey strong, combining for a total of 184 career points since the 2018-19 season. Press finishes her career ranked eighth in the Gustie women’s hockey record books with a total of 121 career points, reaching the milestone in 121 career games for a perfect 1.0 ppg average.

After 24 seasons at the helm, Head Coach Mike Carroll, the second-winningest coach in DIII women’s hockey history, finally brought home his national title, getting his 492nd win in the process. The Gusties enjoyed a record season, not only winning every major title available to them, but also breaking the program record for wins in a season with a final record of 27-3-0.


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