WINONA, Minn. When the teams were even strength, the Saint Mary's University women's hockey team played even with Gustavus Friday evening. In fact, for the more than 42 minutes that the two teams skated 5-on-5, the game was deadlocked at 1-1.
When one of the two teams was on the power play, however, it was a different story.
When Gustavus had the man advantage, the Gusties were near perfection, scoring on 2 of 3 powerplay opportunities.
When SMU had the man advantage, the Cardinals were far from perfection, failing to record a shot in five powerplay chances. In fact, SMU even gave up a shorthanded goal the second of Ann Katz's two goals that gave GAC a 2-1 first period lead as Gustavus cruised to a 4-1 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over the Cardinals at the SMU Ice Arena.
Special teams were anything but special for SMU.
"Our special teams certainly weren't anything to brag about tonight," said SMU coach Duncan Ryhorchuk, whose team has now lost two straight and has managed just one goal in each of its last five losses. "On the powerplay, we just never seemed to get in sync. We were never able to get things set up.
"Give Gustavus a lot of credit for that their penalty kill was outstanding," continued Ryhorchuk. "(Gustavus) is a very, very good team I think the best team we've faced in the conference and they did a nice job of bottling us up all night."
The Cardinals did get on the board first, as Emily Kearns (Hopkins, Minn.) took a pass from Kate Williams (Minnetonka, Minn.) at the SMU blueline, split a pair of Gustavus defenders and broke in alone on Gustavus goalie Kristin Setterstrom. Kearns faked to her left and tucked the puck past the fallen GAC goalie for her team-leading 15th goal of the season just 52 seconds into the opening period.
Gustavus knotted the game at 1-1 at 6:40, as Katz tallied a powerplay goal, then, six minutes later, Katz netted a shorthanded goal to give GAC the lead for good, 2-1.
"That shorthanded goal really took the wind out of our sails," said Ryhorchuk. "We just never seemed to recover from that goal."
Abby Randall pushed Gustavus' lead to 3-1 before the first period ended, and Jess Brandange added a second-period goal as Gustavus pushed its MIAC winning streak to nine straight, dating back to 3-1 and 4-2 losses to St. Thomas on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22.