By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
ST PETER —
When a freshman arrives on the Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey team, it doesn’t take long for her to realize what the expectations are.
One wall of the Don Roberts Ice Rink is adorned with black banners representing the string of MIAC regular-season and playoff championships the team has won over the years.
“I was super excited to be part of it,” first-year player Allison Eder-Zdechlik said.
On Saturday afternoon, Eder-Zdechlik helped the Gusties win another banner — their 10th tournament title in a row and 11th overall — scoring two goals in a 4-1 victory over Concordia.
“The bar is set pretty high,” the forward from Stillwater said. “Coming in, you have to work hard, day in and day out.”
Gustavus remained undefeated at 26-0-1 and also won its 26th consecutive home game.
Eder-Zdechlik, who scored the game-winning goal, now leads the Gusties with 14 goals and is tied for second on the team with 24 points.
“You can expect a lot from her,” said senior and leading point scorer Lindsey Hjelm, who also had a goal in the game.
Freshman goalie Lindsey Hibbard stopped 16 shots for her 14th win of the season.
Concordia tried and was often allowed to play a physical game, but that eventually ended up being no match against the speedier and more-skilled Gusties.
The Cobbers grabbed a 1-0 lead with 3:16 remaining in the first period when Madison Gendreau finished off a scramble in front of the Gustavus net. Hibbard stopped two tough shots before Gendreau connected on a third try.
That lead lasted just 71 seconds, though, as Gustavus’ Carolyn Draayer took a chip pass off the glass from Maddie Bergh and fired a low shot that leaked through goalie Madison Denny’s legs with 2:05 remaining in the period.
After that close first period, Gustavus dominated the rest of the way. The Gusties had a 35-8 shot advantage the rest of the game for a 48-17 total.
Eder-Zdechlik’s power-play goal at 8:22 of the second period put the Gusties up 2-1, and Hjelm, the MIAC Player of the Year made it 3-1 with her 13th goal of the season with 3:19 remaining in the period.
“In the second period, we worked through some things and got some positive momentum,” Gusties coach Mike Carroll said. “The third was probably the most fun for me to watch. We changed our forecheck to have the territorial advantage and did a great job.”
Eder-Zdechlik scored an empty-netter for Gustavus’ final goal. Melissa Doyle finished with two assists.
With the win, Gustavus earned the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The first round of the tournament begins next weekend. The tournament field and schedule will be announced on Monday.