Parker Burman – Staff Writer
This past weekend, the Gustavus Women’s hockey team pulled off an impressive feat by securing their third straight MIAC Championship with a 4-2 victory over Augsburg. The win marks the Gusties’ eighth straight victory and their 24th of the season. Their victory Saturday also marked their MIAC-leading fourteenth Playoff Championship.
Going into the game Gustavus and Augsburg had already faced off three times before their championship meeting. Gustavus was looking forward to revenge as Augsburg had handed them their only regular season conference loss of the year.
“The atmosphere of Lund gave us a ton of energy. The fans were super loud and encouraging and it made it even more fun to play in front of. We knew this game was huge and it means so much to us to have that much support from other students and families to encourage us to play to our best abilities,” Junior forward Brooke Power said.
The Gusties got the scoring going early in the first period when Power scored at 6:30 to take a 1-0 lead. Finding the puck in the slot, Power sent a shot over the shoulder of the Augsburg goalie for the score.
“Against any team, we want to have momentum right away and start off on a good note. Scoring six minutes into the game did exactly that. We had a ton of opportunities right away and were just waiting for one to sneak by. I was in the right position to make the play and as soon as I got the puck, I took a moment to look up and snipe the goalie’s glove side. The whole building went crazy including our team on the bench. It was fun to be that person to start the momentum and get things rolling,” Power said.
Continuing to put the pressure on Augsburg, the Gusties capitalized on another chance to score to an early 2-0 lead. A face-off win from Senior forward Emily Olson ended up right on the stick of the team’s leading scorer, Senior forward Hailey Holland. Holland did the rest, burying the puck at the 7:59 mark.
“I just made sure to get really low and was able to tie up the stick of the Augsburg center, and I saw Hailey coming through out of the corner of my eye so I tapped it into the lane she was skating through. Tina tied up her girl which opened up the middle for Hailey. She made a great move on the player coming towards her and sniped in typical Hailey fashion,” Olson said.
“We always want to start the scoring early. So Brooke and I getting the goals in the first helped the nerves settle down a bit,” Holland said.
The Gustavus offense cooled off in the second period, managing to only score a single goal, but it was all they needed. Senior forward Tina Press stole the puck from an Auggie and worked her way around the defense to put the puck in the top right corner for the score.
Aside from this Gustie goal, that was all the offense that transpired for either side in the second. Senior Goalie Katie McCoy faced her first shots of the game in the second saving all five put on net by Augsburg.
In the third, Augsburg fired up their offense and worked themselves back into the contest by putting away two goals to make the score 3-2. Holding onto the lead in the third was something the Gusties managed to do as Press put the game away with an empty net goal, her second of the contest.
When the clock had struck zero, the Gusties had secured the 4-2 victory to continue their dominance of the MIAC. “Winning back-to-back-to-back MIAC championships is an unreal feeling. Getting a shot at the national tournament even once in my time playing here is a dream come true– and now we have done it for the third time,” Olson said.
The Gusties will host UW-River Falls in the NCAA Quarter at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the Don Roberts ice arena. “When we play our game we are able to beat anyone we want. So if we keep playing Gustie hockey we will go far,” Holland said.
“Our overall goal is to win the tournament and to do that by taking it one step at a time. Coach likes to phrase this national tournament as being our third and final season of the year, and given that we want to compete and do the best we possibly can. Especially after how last season ended just short of a national title, we are very motivated to do whatever it takes to get back to the championship game and take it home. It starts with Saturday against River Falls, so the current focus is winning that game,” Olson said.