By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — SUPERIOR, Wisc. — Plattsburgh State got just one shot on net in the first period Saturday, as Gustavus Adolphus controlled play.
But that one shot was all the Cardinals needed to take a lead.
They increased their advantage in the second and went on to a 4-0 win in the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship third-place game at Wessman Arena.
“They came out flying, and we couldn’t get the puck out of our own end. And definitely we were lucky to come out with the lead, for sure,” Plattsburgh coach Kevin Houle said of the first period. “We had a pretty good goalie there.”
Elmira beat Middlebury 1-0 in the championship game.
The Cardinals had hoped to play in that contest but fell to Middlebury in Friday’s semifinals. They finished the season with just one loss.
“There’s no words to describe losing in the semifinal; I mean, we haven’t lost in a year,” junior Jenny Kistner said. “So it was hard to come back, but we talked during breakfast (Saturday) morning about how important it was to go out with a win (Saturday), and that made it a lot easier, to go out like that.”
The Golden Gusties owned the shots 12-1 in the first period, keeping up sustained pressure in Plattsburgh’s zone. But with about five minutes left, they took two penalties in a span of 39 seconds, giving the Cardinals (27-1-2) a 5-on-3 opportunity. Allison Era banged in the power-play goal to steal the momentum.
“Our plan was to come out quick and try to get a couple right away, and hopefully we could feed off that energy and have that carry us the rest of the game,” Gustavus Adolphus coach Mike CarrollI said. “And, you know, the scoreboard didn’t indicate it, but we did that. So I was proud of the way we showed up and got right at it.”
Late in the second, Shannon Stewart skated in with the puck and took a shot. Gustavus Adolphus goaltender Lindsey Hibbard turned it away, but Teal Gove was on the right doorstep to put in the rebound.
“I thought we made adjustments in the second period and played better,” Houle said. “I certainly don’t think we played great. You know, we were opportunistic and scored some nice goals.”
The Gusties had a good chance to get on the board in the third when Lindsey Hjelm got a short-handed breakaway, but Sydney Aveson denied her. Then Kistner sent a high shot past Hibbard for an unassisted power-play goal in the middle of the period to make it 3-0, and Gove tallied her second of the game at 16:47, firing a shot that went in the top corner and came right back out.
Gustavus Adolphus finished with a 25-11 advantage in shots, and Aveson made 25 saves for her ninth shutout of the season.
“I think she played great. She’s been great for us all year long, and it was nice for her to get that shutout,” Houle said. “I know she felt disappointed, as we all did, (Friday), but it certainly wasn’t on her by any stretch of the imagination. So I think it was nice for her to have the shutout, and she did a great job for us.”
Kistner, who earned an assist on Gove’s second goal, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Hibbard made seven stops for the Gusties (27-2-1).
In the championship game, Taylor Steadman scored from Sam Curk at 12:26 of the second period to put Elmira ahead, and that lead held up the rest of the game. Lauren Sullivan turned away 30 shots to earn the shutout.
Plattsburgh’s season included an 18-game winning streak that stretched from Nov. 3 to Feb. 2. The Cardinals won the ECAC West regular-season crown and then claimed their first conference tournament title since 2007.
“You never think you’re going to have a run like we did this year,” Houle said. “For us, our goal was to get back to the final four and hopefully win a national championship. But along the way, we were able to accomplish a lot.
“At the end of the day, you’re disappointed when you don’t come out with that championship, you’re not playing in the big game. But I couldn’t be more proud of this group. They’ve been awesome from start to finish. Just a real good group to coach.”
Plattsburgh State 4, Gustavus Adolphus 0
Gustavus Adolphus 0 0 0 — 0
Plattsburgh 1 1 2 — 4
First period- 1, PSU, Era (Balisy, Kistner), 15:45 (pp). Penalties: VanGlahn, PSU (tripping), 2:53. Bergh, GA (cross-checking), 14:35. Hjelm, GA (interference), 15:14. Stewart, PSU (checking), 17:17.
Second period- 2, PSU, Gove (Stewart), 17:51. Penalties: Hjelm, GA (tripping), 9:53. Favretto, PSU (checking), 14:05. McIver, PSU (interference), 18:41.
Third period- 3, PSU, Kistner, 9:03 (pp). 4, PSU, Gove (Rutherford, Kistner), 16:47. Penalties: Olson, GA (holding), 7:27. Hjelm, GA (cross-checking), 11:03. Gustavus Adolphus (too many players on the ice), 13:12.
Shots on goal
Gustavus Adolphus 12 5 5 — 25
Plattsburgh 1 8 5 — 11
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Hibbard, GA, 11-7. Aveson, PSU, 25-25.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Gustavus Adolphus 0-4. Plattsburgh 2-6.
Elmira 1, Middlebury 0
Elmira 0 1 0 — 1
Middlebury 0 0 0 – 0
First period- Penalties: Burrows, Elm (high sticking), 5:16. Gaskin, Elm (checking), 10:57. Elmira (too many players on the ice), 19:27.
Second period- 1, Elm, Steadman (Curk), 12:26. Penalties: Fluke, Mid (checking), 3:18. Woodward, Mid (hooking), 9:41. Curk, Elm (checking), 16:30.
Shots on goal:
Elmira 6 14 6 — 26
Middlebury 6 11 13 — 30
Goaltenders: Sullivan, Elm, 30-30. Jones, Mid, 26-25.
Power plays: Elmira 0-2, Middlebury 0-4.
Email Courtney Lewis:email@example.com