Overtime Thriller!

Parker Burman-

This past weekend, the Gustavus Women’s Hockey team hosted rival Bethel in the MIAC Semifinals, with a trip to the MIAC Championship game on the line. Although playing well, Gustavus found themselves facing an early deficit, one which would last most of the game. However, late game Gustie heroics forced an overtime win by a score of 2-1 to send Gustavus to their fourth straight MIAC title game.

The Gustavus offense came out strong to start the game, firing seven pucks on the net in the first five minutes of play. Yet, even with this pressure, the Gusties were not able to find the back of the net to tally the opening goal. However, Bethel caught the Gusties off-guard, as Gustavus was just coming off the power play, with the Bethel skater taking it into the Gustie zone before scoring the backhanded shot past Goalie and Fifth-year Katie McCoy.

“I tried not to let it change the way I play and had a short memory. I definitely felt the pressure to not let any more goals in but continued to focus on the next shot,” McCoy said.

The goal to put Bethel up 1-0 would secure them the lead in the game for the next 40 minutes. Regardless of what the Gusties tried to do on offense, they could not get a puck to go past Bethel goalie Anna Hanson, who saved 40 shots that night.

“I think after Bethel scored, it was definitely a wake-up call for all of us. We realized how important this game was and how disciplined we had to be. I think we knew that we were capable of beating Bethel, we just had to keep working hard and not let this one goal deter us from our ultimate goal of winning the game,” Fifth-year Molly McHugh said.

However, with time beginning to wane in the final minutes of the game, First-year Defenseman Kylie Scott would play hero for the Gusties. With just three minutes remaining, Scott grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, skated into the Bethel zone, and fired a shot low and left on the Bethel net to beat Hanson.

‘The feeling was unreal. It was a mix of emotions of relief, excitement, and happiness. It gave us momentum for the rest of the game and we were all over Bethel from there. I originally wasn’t going to shoot the puck, I was going to dish it to Lily Mortenson who was driving the net. But I realized I was in the slot and knew that we needed shots in order to score. So I found the opening and took the shot,” Scott said.

“We were all obviously very excited and maybe even relieved. It helped us gain momentum to finish off that period and head into overtime. The goal reaffirmed that we were capable of winning, scoring, and beating Bethel,” McHugh said.

Thanks to the momentum created by Scott to end regulation, the Gusties were in complete dominating control of the overtime period. Putting plenty of pucks on the net and creating high-danger scoring chances, Senior Brooke Power almost called the game but was snubbed by a save from Hanson. Regardless of what Bethel tried to do, they were no match for the Gustie onslaught as Fifth-year forward Hailey Holland buried one with three minutes left in overtime to end the game.

“Our ability to battle and work hard definitely plays into part of our relentless offense. Our offense is one of our strong suits so we need to take advantage of every opportunity we are given and work to put the puck in the back of the net more,” Power said.

“I was confident that we could come out on top. We still had the momentum from that goal late in the third which carried over into overtime and allowed us to dominate the extra time,” McCoy said.

The Gusties finished the night with 42 shots on net, 30 more than the 12 Bethel managed to put on McCoy. Holland fired 10 of Gustavus’s 42 shots off of her stick, followed by seven from McHugh and six from Power. Gustavus controlled the face-off dot, winning 49 of 65 draws taken. In net McCoy saved .917 percent of her shots faced, seeing just a combined three goals in the third period and overtime.

“This team can go as far as we put our minds to. Obviously, our goal is to make it back to the national championship game but we have to take it one step at a time, focusing on each individual game and working as a team,” Power said.

This weekend, the Gustavus Women will face No. 14 Saint Mary’s at Don Roberts Arena on Saturday, March 2nd at 2:00 p.m., for a chance to defend their MIAC title.

“We’re ready for Saturday and will make the most of this opportunity,” Scott said.

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