Women’s Hockey Falls in NCHA Tournament vs. Adrian

Dylan Zimmerman

The College of St. Scholastica women’s hockey team was eliminated from playoffs this past weekend, falling to Adrian College back-to-back nights in Michigan. CSS came in as the No. 4 seed, while Adrian was the No. 1 seed of the tournament. Despite all odds being against them the Saints still managed to put up a fight, but ran out of gas in both games and fell by scores of 4-1, 4-0.

The first game started off slowly, as neither team could get the puck in the net throughout the entire first period. Sierra Hanowski was the first skater to score in the game, giving the Saints a 1-0 lead after a power play goal 13 minutes into the second period. Shelly Czarnowczan would answer back with a goal of her own for the Bulldogs to tie it at 1-1 heading into the final period. The Saints gave up an early power play goal to Adrian’s Kristin Lewicki, who gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead with just fifty seconds having passed by in the third. The scoring ceased until the final two minutes of play when CSS pulled goalkeeper Lindsey Hartfiel, leading to two Bulldog empty-netters to put the game out of reach for the Saints.

Game two started quite similar to the first, as both teams were held scoreless after the first period. Adrian’s Lewicki scored her second goal of the weekend in the next period to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead, which they would carry over into the third period. The third period is yet again where the Saints ran out of gas, failing to keep up with the 24-2-1 Bulldogs through the entire game. Three Adrian goals in the third opened up the game to a 4-0 lead for the home team, which is what the score would remain until the final horn sounded. Despite four goals being scored by Adrian, Hartfiel only allowed three as the last one was due to an empty net.

The Saints, despite losing, are proud of the way they played this past weekend.

“We couldn’t put pucks in the net, and that’s what cost us,” said sophomore forward Brandi Malwitz. “However, I think we played very well this weekend. We all played our hearts out, and I think we can all say, with conviction, that we left everything we had out on the ice.”

“We played the best two games I’ve seen us play all season,” said freshman defenseman Kennedy Houge. “We were with them the whole game and it got to the point where we were putting the pressure on them most of the game. Bounces just weren’t going our way.”

The Saints will be graduating four seniors: Taylor Guzzo, Nikki Logergren, Ivy Smith, and Kelsey Reeves. The seniors were key members of the team and won’t be easy to replace.

“We had a great group of seniors this year and filling their shoes will be difficult to do,” said Houge. “Nikki and Taylor produced a lot of our offense and Ivy was the defensive backbone of our team. No one individual will ever be able to fill the roles they played, but as a team we will find a way. Kelsey was a late addition to our team, but without her we wouldn’t have been able to complete our season. She brought a lot of life and energy to our team and she will truly be missed.”

Excluding the fact that all four seniors were key members on the ice, they were also all important in mentoring the younger athletes off the ice.

“Our seniors were a source of experience,” said Malwitz. “I have learned a lot from them in my two years at CSS. We’re going to miss them.”

As far as the off-season goes, the Saints are just going to take a few weeks off before starting to get in the daily workout routine again.

“As a team, I think we all need a mental break,” said Malwitz. “The hockey season is long and intense, it wears a person down. After we can all rest and get back in that mentality again, lifting and running will become a huge part of our training.”

The CSS players, coaches, and fans are thankful for the seniors graduating and are already looking forward to the next season.