By CJ Siewert, Gustavus Adolphus College
ADRIAN, Mich. – A gritty and scrappy performance by the Gustavus women's hockey team Friday resulted in game that needed more than 60 minutes to declare a victor. But in a game that saw 19 penalties, including a season-high 10 called on the Gusties, host Adrian was able to take advantage of its opportunities in the offensive zone, eventually scoring the game-winning goal 13:15 into the extra frame. All three of the Bulldogs' goals were even strength as the Gusties killed off all nine power plays. The loss sends Gustavus to the third place game tomorrow against Norwich, while Adrian faces Plattsburgh State in the NCAA Division III Championship.
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"I'm very proud of my hockey team," Head Coach Mike Carroll said. "Anyone that watched the game could see that we certainly played well. We faced a lot of adversity, dealt with it, and our goalie proved that she was an All-American tonight."
First Team All-American goalie Amanda DiNella (So., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.) lived up to the recognition tonight as she stopped a career-high 52 shots, which is second most in a single game in program history, just three shy of the record set in 1998. Despite allowing the game-winner in overtime, DiNella made 17 saves in just over 13 minutes of overtime.
Credit is also deserving of the defense in front of the Gustie goalie as players sacrificed their bodies to lie out in front of hard slap shots, denying many shots to make their way on net, especially on the penalty kill. The Gustie penalty killers were a perfect 9-for-9, tying a program record set Dec. 1, 2006 against Hamline.
"I've got a group of girls that work hard on special teams, but I've really got six forwards that we have relied on to kill penalties," Carroll said. "We were missing one of those penalty killers tonight because she was sick. But we had our chances on the power play early that we didn't bury. That's just the way the game is. Moving forward that should be a strength of our team next year with all the experiences we've had in high-pressure games."
Adrian started the scoring early Friday, taking a 1-0 lead three minutes into the first period. The Bulldogs were whistled for a tripping penalty at the 8:20 mark and the Gusties took advantage with a goal 14 seconds into the power play. Laura Johnson (Jr., Chanhassen, Minn.) scored just her third goal of the season, assisted by Erica Power (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) and Tegan Rodriguez (Fy., Sioux City, Iowa). The rest of the period was scoreless and the score read 1-1 at the first intermission, Gustavus leading 14-7 in shots.
Adrian regained the lead with a goal at the 14:19 mark in the second frame, but the Gusties were once again able to answer with a power play goal a few minutes later. Marina Chapman (So., South Haven, Minn.) scored her fifth goal of the season with 1:55 remaining in the period, assisted by Katy Fuller (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.), and the two teams skated into the second intermission tied 2-2.
Gustavus had to buckle down defensively in the third period as its was whistled for five penalties in the frame, including two in the final 1:05, which put Adrian on a 5-on-3 for the end of regulation. But the Gusties stood up to the challenge and forced overtime.
The Gusties started the extra period down two skaters and were able to kill off the power play, but the Black and Gold were called twice more. Gustavus was able to kill off both skater disadvantages, but five seconds after the power play, Adrian scored the game-winner to advance to the national championship.
Adrian outshot the Gusties 55-42, including 14-6 in the third and 18-4 in overtime.
Gustavus now faces Norwich at 3 p.m. tomorrow for third place.
"We have three seniors that have busted their tails all season long," Carroll said. "It's going to be a tough turnaround, but its bonus hockey, just like we've been playing since we got into the NCAAs."