Greg Miller, Staff Writer
Women’s hockey clinched a MIAC playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year with a 4–4 tie and a 2–0 win last weekend against St. Kate’s.
In the first game of the weekend series, Emily Ach opened up the scoring with a goal in the first two minutes of play, setting the tone for a highly entertaining game. After the Wildcats tied it up at one, Ach scored her second of the night on the powerplay to give the Auggies a 2–1 lead at the end of the first period. Augsburg fell behind early in the second as St. Kate’s scored twice in the first minute of the period to take a 3–2 lead. The Auggies battled back though as Valerie Whichello scored on the powerplay to tie the game. The Wildcats took the lead again with less than three minutes left in the game, but with the goalie pulled, Ach found the back of the net for her third goal of the night to tie the game up at 4–4 and clinching a playoff berth for the Auggies. Ach had a night to remember, recording her first collegiate hat trick as well as an assist on the Whichello goal.
In game two, the Auggies and Wildcats played to a scoreless first period, but it was all Augsburg after that. Nikki Nightengale scored a powerplay goal in the second, and Megan Johnson gave the Auggies a 2–0 lead to put the game away as the Auggies outshot St. Kate’s 32–8 over the final two periods. Goalie McKenna Manalli recorded her third shutout of the season and ranks third in the MIAC in win percentage with .714 and is second in goals against average with 1.39. Nightengale’s powerplay goal marked her fifth on the season, tying teammate Mackenzie Molnar for the MIAC lead in power play goals by a defender.
Coming into the final week of the season, the Auggies are tied in the standings with Gustavus for third but hold the tiebreaker. The Auggies look to at least match Gustavus’ output to receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. Augsburg travels to play Concordia-Moorhead this weekend.
Augsburg Womens Hockey team celebrates after goal scored in second period against St. Kates on 2/9 at Ed Saugested Rink. Photo by Cyndi Nightengale.
This article was originally published in the Feb. 15, 2019 issue.