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ISSUE 120 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 2/23/2007

Women sweep, clinch playoff spot

By Matthew Stortz
Staff Writer

Friday, February 23, 2007

The St. Olaf women's hockey team clinched a playoff berth last weekend with a series sweep of St. Catherine. With a 4-2 win over the Wildcats in Northfield on Friday and a 5-0 victory in Minneapolis on Saturday, the Oles improved their overall record to 10-5-1 and strengthened their hold on third place in the MIAC.

The Oles drew first blood on Friday night when Katie Bennett '08 scored on an assist from Kayla Hill'10 midway through the first period. The Oles held that lead through the first intermission, but lost it quickly thereafter when St. Catherine's scored to tie the game 1 all. St. Olaf regained the lead later in the second period on Laura Wild's '08 power play goal, and extended their lead with goals by Lindsay Boeser '08 and Kristina Kontny '10. St. Catherine's added a goal with five seconds left in the game to make the score a more respectable 4-2, but could not overcome the Ole lead. Jessica Magnuson '09 led the Oles in points with three assists.

Goalie Sarah Mills '10 made twenty saves on the night for a .909 save percentage.

If Friday night was good to the Oles, Saturday night was more of the same. Boeser scored first for the Oles on assists from Susannah Brokl '07 and Wild. Hill added another goal, assisted by Bennett, at toward the end of the first period, giving the Oles a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The Oles continued their offensive barrage in the second period when Kontny added an unassisted goal to the Ole tally. Hill scored a powerplay goal midway through the second on assists from Tessa Christensen '09 and Bennet to give the Oles a 4-0 advantage, and Boeser added an unassisted goal in the last seconds of the period to make the score 5-0, Oles. The Oles hunkered down and played defense in the third period, allowing the Wildcats just five shots on goal.

Shannon Herrick '09 started in goal for the Oles, saving all fifteen of St. Catherine's shots on goal.

With the pair of wins against St. Catherine the Oles have taken a two point lead over Hamline in the MIAC standings and are just one point shy of second place St. Thomas. Most MIAC observers argue that finishing in third place or better during the regular season is critical, because the top three teams all have first-round playoff byes. As such, teams finishing third or better need only to play two games to win a MIAC title, as opposed to the three games required of other playoff contenders. With two games remaining in their schedule, the Oles could yet overtake the Tommies for second place, earning a first-round bye and home ice advantage in at least their first playoff game.

The Oles will play Bethel this weekend, playing in Blaine on Friday and in Northfield on Saturday. Opening faceoff is set for 7pm on Friday and 2pm on Saturday.

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