Women’s hockey rolls on Senior Night

Brady BoieSports Editor

The Gustavus Women’s Hockey team posted an impressive performance on Senior Night, trouncing the Concordia Cobbers with a continuous flurry of goals. The end result was a 9-0 victory for the Gusties who set out to make their Senior Day Special. 

“Senior Night brings out a lot of emotions for any sport. You never know how fast it goes until you are one of them [a senior]. Our team has done a good job of saying ‘Yes this is Senior Night, yes we are going to celebrate, but let’s do that afterward because we have a game to focus on and a game to win,’” Senior Clara Billings said. 

The focus was apparent from the get-go for the Gusties, as they came out searching for the back of the opposition’s net. Fifth-year senior Gabby Slykas netted the first goal less than five minutes into the game. While it seems like it would be any athlete’s dream to score a goal on Senior Day, this goal meant a little bit more for Slykas – it was her first collegiate goal after playing in over 100 games. 

“I shot the puck low and I saw it trickle behind the goalie… and next thing I know my teammates are skating after me… everyone was jumping on me and I did not know what to do because I had never scored… what was really special was that after the first period, I went into the locker room and all of my teammates are just hyping me up for two minutes,” Slykas said. 

The scoring didn’t stop there for the Gusties, as they added three more goals in the first period. Billings assisted Sophomore Kaitlyn Holland just a minute later to add to the lead. Her older sister, Hailey Holland followed suit just four minutes later. This goal catapulted Holland, a senior, into rarefied air. She is the 14th Gustie to eclipse 100 career points, an honor only shared by one other current Gustie. Not to be outdone, First-year Lily Mortenson joined in on the scoring action and the Gusties closed the period with a 4-0 lead. 

“The game showcased our ability to rack up the points on the scoreboard. A lot of girls got on the scoreboard with assists or goals, so that is always great to see… We have not had many games where it is that high-scoring, so to have one of those games under our belts lets us know we are capable of it. To play a full sixty minutes is something that we have been focusing on all season and I think it goes to show that we are pretty close to meeting that goal,” Billings said. 

The onslaught continued in the second period, as Junior Brooke Power scored on a power play halfway through the second period. Hailey Holland added her second goal of the night just five minutes later, giving the Gusties a commanding 6-0 lead and putting the Cobbers out of reach in just two periods of play. This type of dominance gives the Gusties’ confidence that they will be able to return to the National Championship game they played in just one year ago. 

“The expectation is to make it back to the National Championship game. We have a lot of veterans on this team who want to make it back there and have a little bit of redemption and that is obviously our ultimate goal. Our mentality is to take it one game at a time,” Billings said. 

Billings backed these statements up with her play in the third period. She scored twice in a span of nine minutes and ended up with three total points on the night. Kaitlyn Holland put the finishing touches on the Gustavus masterpiece with her second goal of the night. When all was said and done, the scoreboard read 9-0 Gusties on their very special Senior Night. Senior Katie McCoy kept the Gustie net safe, recording eleven saves in just forty minutes of play. This impressive feat helped McCoy earn MIAC Women’s Hockey Defensive Player of the Week. 

“I have been the starting goalie since my freshman year, so working hard in practice and staying confident (has been key for me),” McCoy said

This confidence and experience are what will help guide the Gusties to a deep tourney run. Here’s to another great year of Gustavus Women’s Hockey. 

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