ADRIAN, Mich. – The top-seeded Adrian College women's hockey team won its fourth consecutive Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) Slaats Cup after beating the second-seeded College of St. Scholastica 3-2 in double overtime. The game was the longest in program history and gave the Bulldogs an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Final Score: #1 Adrian 3, #2 St. Scholastica 2
Location: Adrian, Mich. (Arrington Ice Arena)
Records: Adrian 22-4-2, St. Scholastica 21-7-1
HOW IT HAPPENED
Adrian's penalty kill was called on early and often in the first period, and it answered the call each time. The Bulldogs killed off three penalties in a row to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes. AC got a power play of its own with 3:53 left in the first but couldn't convert. Adrian outshot St. Scholastica 9-6 in the first, in a period where it seemed both teams were feeling each other out and letting the nerves settle.
The shots started flying in the second, and Adrian broke the scoreless tie 7:14 into the second stanza when junior forward Jacqueline White knocked home a loose puck. Freshman defenseman Amanda Tomasek chipped the puck out of the defensive zone to senior captain Tory Harshman for the breakout. Harshman carried the puck the length of the ice and behind the St. Scholastica net, pulling the goalie out of her crease. White recognized the opportunity and positioned herself in front of the wide-open net to shoot the puck into the net after Harshman's centering pass.
St. Scholastica didn't trail for long, as the Saints tied the game just over two minutes later. Alexia Klaas took a shot from the middle of the ice that freshman goaltender Denisa Jandova got most of, but not enough as the puck squirted through the pads and into the net to knot the game at one each. The game would stay tied at one for the rest of the period, with CSS holding a 12-10 advantage in shots in the period.
Adrian regained the lead halfway through the third when junior forward Brianna Buchanan broke the tie with 10:13 to go in the third. A heavy forecheck forced St. Scholastica to turn the puck over in its zone, where it was gathered by junior defenseman Rylee Bates. Bates took the puck down low and saw Buchanan cutting across the middle, sending her a pass. Buchanan took the shot as a one timer and sent the puck off the crossbar and down into the goal for the 2-1 lead.
The Saints wouldn't go away easy, as Klaas scored a power play goal for her second of the night with 5:26 remaining to tie the game again. St. Scholastica worked the puck around in the zone before finding Klass at the top of the left faceoff circle for the goal. The game remained tied through the rest of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
Despite a flurry of chances for both teams, one overtime period would not be enough as the game remained tied after an additional 20 minutes, sending it into a second overtime. CSS was called for a tripping penalty 3:58 into the fifth frame, and the mistake proved costly. After a few shorthanded chances for the Saints, Buchanan picked the puck up in the defensive zone and brought it up the ice. She was able to skate unhindered into the Saints' zone cutting from the left point to the right circle with the puck on her forehand. Buchanan then launched the puck back across the goalies' body to the top-left corner of the net, giving Adrian the Slaats Cup and a trip to the NCAA Tournament again.
The game was an instant NCHA classic and will go down in the record books as the longest game in program history for the Bulldogs. It is the only game AC has played that has gone to double overtime. This is also the second Slaats Cup Championship in a row that has gone to overtime, as Adrian prevailed in the extra frame against Lake Forest last year, 4-3.
Buchanan's two-goal performance was enough to earn her All-Tournament status, along with her teammates White and Bates. The full All-Tournament team is:
F – Jacqueline White, Adrian College
F – Brianna Buchanan, Adrian College
F – Rachel Anderson, College of St. Scholastica
D – Rylee Bates, Adrian College
D – Greta Nundahl, College of St. Scholastica
G – Lexi Thomeczek, College of St. Scholastica
Most Outstanding Player: Jacqueline White, Adrian College
• White and Buchanan scored for the Bulldogs, with Buchanan scoring twice.
• Harshman, Tomasek, and Bates picked up assists.
• Jandova played 85:13 minutes in net and made 32 saves for the win.
• Klaas scored both of St. Scholastica's goals.
• Rachel Anderson, Taylor Murray, Taylor Thompson, and Sam Gorecki tallied assists for the Saints.
• Lexi Thomeczek made 40 saves for the loss.
Adrian receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row, and fifth overall. The Bulldogs will find out who and where they are playing during the NCAA Selection Show, taking place tomorrow, March, 4 at 10 a.m. on ncaa.com.
#GoBulldogs | #TheHustle