The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 16, 2013

Gustie skaters win MIAC title

ST PETER — The Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey team has already clinched its ninth straight Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season championship. What lies ahead for the Gusties is trying to win their 10th straight MIAC postseason title, winning a national championship and remaining unbeaten.

The latter is what they worked on Saturday as sophomore forward Carolyn Draayer netted two goals to help Gustavus defeat St. Olaf 6-2 at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter.

Friday night these two teams met in Northfield. In Gustavus’ 7-4 win, the Gusties outshot the Oles 26-2 in the first period. It was nearly identical on Saturday as Gustavus held a 25-4 advantage in shot attempts, but only had a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.

“When we put up 25 shots compared to their four in the first period, and it’s only 2-1, that can be a momentum swing for the other team no matter how hard we’re playing,” said Gustavus head coach Mike Carroll.

Any momentum that St. Olaf might have had was put away early in the second period when Melissa Doyle picked up a loose puck in front of Oles goalie Ali McKeever and one-timed a shot to the back of the net for a 3-1 Gustavus lead 3:05 into the period. St. Olaf’s Caroline Ponessa and GAC’s Draayer exchanged goals a short-time later, giving Gustavus a 4-2 lead 6:23 into the period.

 “She (Draayer) had been in a little bit of scoring slump and she’s a sniper,” said Carroll. “She got one last night after a couple of weeks (of no goals).

“In practice she’s scoring all the time, but in the games they weren’t going in. It’s really neat to see her bury some chances today.”

The Gusties did a nice job of scoring early in periods. Kelly Thotland scored 1:39 into the game; there was Doyle’s goal in the second period; and only 46 seconds into the third period, Allison Eder-Zdechlik scored her team high-tying 11th goal of the season to make it 5-2.

Just over four minutes later, Draayer scored her second goal of the game off a nice feed from Jenna Christensen to give Gustavus a comfortable 6-2 cushion.

The Gusties, who outshot St. Olaf 51-20 on Saturday, move to 22-0-1 overall and 16-0 in the MIAC with one more regular season weekend remaining.

Gustavus plays St. Benedict next weekend in a home-and-home series with Saturday’s game in St. Peter at 2 p.m.

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