Connolly records career night as Blugolds advance in NCAA Tournament

Photo by Bill Hoepner, UWEC Photo
Photo by Bill Hoepner, UWEC Photo

ST. PETER, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – In the First Round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's hockey team defeated host Gustavus Adolphus College 3-2 in triple overtime.

Box Score | Photos

Emma Peterson (Fr. – Superior, WI) scored the game-winner in what was the longest game in the history of the NCAA women's hockey tournament. Goaltender Erin Connolly (So. - Mequon, WI/Homestead) had a career night in goal for Eau Claire, tallying an incredible 58 saves in her 18th win of the season. The total crushes her previous career-high of 37 saves and is third in program history.

The Blugolds would strike first on Friday night as Kelly Knetter (Jr. – Wausau, WI/West) scored off a deflected shot by Monica Sjodin (Jr. – Anoka, MN). Mariah Czech (Sr. – Andover, MN) would earn the second assist on the goal coming at the 5:04 mark of the first period.

The Blugolds would add a second goal, also off a deflection, as Morgan Zirbel (Fr. – Green Bay, WI/Ashwaubenon) scored her fifth goal of the season at 16:49. Bree Osborne (Fr. – West St. Paul, MN/Cretin Derham Hall) and Jennifer Thomsen (Sr. – Apple Valley, MN) would be credited with assists on the goal.

The Golden Gusties would cut the lead with just 30 seconds left in the period as Eau Claire held a 2-1 edge after one period of play.

The score would be locked in at 2-1 until just a minute left in regulation. Gustavus' Amelia Vosen would score her second goal of the night to send the game into overtime.

Despite being outshot 60-29 in the game, the Blugolds would make their last shot count in the third overtime as Peterson's fifth goal of the season would send the Blugolds into the next round of the tournament. With the win, Eau Claire set a new school record for wins in a season (19).

The Blugolds will now face the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) tournament champion, Hamline University, on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College. The Blugolds are 1-1 this season against Hamline after defeating the Piper 3-0 on Nov. 2 and falling by a score of 3-1 on Dec. 5.

Follow Saturday's game on Blugold Game Day or on the Blugold Athletics app.

 

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