Women’s hockey earns win, tie against no. 9 Gusties

Jen Kochaver, Features Editor

The women’s hockey team walked away from this past weekend’s series against Gustavus with a win and a tie, marking a historic Auggie defeat of Gustavus on their home ice and leaving Augsburg in a promising position as the MIAC playoffs near.

   The first game of the series was played at Gustavus’s Don Roberts rink in St. Peter. The Auggies started off strong with a goal by Jeanette Bealke 1:58 into the first period and entered the second period with the same eager energy when Megan Johnson scored 2:28 minutes in. The game ended with an empty-net goal by Mackenzie Molnar with just 13 seconds left on the clock. This game marked the first Auggie women’s hockey victory at Gustavus since 2000; a win made especially impressive knowing Gustavus was ranked No. 9 in Division III national polls prior to the game.

      The second game of the series marked freshman goalie Abby Bollig’s first colligate start — and only her third colligate appearance. The game began with a rocky start with Gustavus scoring two goals early in the first period, leaving Augsburg fans nervous that momentum from Friday’s victory may not be continuing into Saturday’s game.

     During intermission after the first period, the team had organized a stuffed animal toss to donate to the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital located just across the street from the rink. Fans brought dozens of stuffed animals (protected by plastic bags) to chuck (lovingly) onto the ice to be collected by Augsburg skaters. This fundraiser was organized in partnership with the Augsburg Physician Assistant program.

    As the game continued, fans’ worries about the rough start began to dissipate. Though Augsburg and Gustavus were roughly matched for shots on goal, Augsburg remained down 2-0 well into the third period. But, with 1:19 left in the third period, Nikki Nightingale scored her ninth goal of the season, and just 37 seconds later Bridget Wagner tied the game. The Auggies vastly outshot the Gusties in the overtime period, but neither team scored, leaving the final score at 2-2 and Gustavus and Augsburg with matching 5-3-2 MIAC records.

   Johnson left the ice with an injury as time expired in Saturday’s game, but her contributions to the successful weekend did not go unnoticed—she was named MIAC women’s hockey athlete of the week after scoring the second goal of Friday’s win and assisting on the game-tying goal of Saturday’s.

This article was originally published in the Jan. 25, 2019 issue.