Women’s hockey: Gustavus Adolphus nets winning goal in 3OT, downs Amherst College for D3 national championship (PHOTOS)

By HANNAH BEVIS 

Staff Writer 

Published: 03-19-2023 8:40 PM

AMHERST – The first 60 minutes came and went.

Then the first overtime period.

And then the second. 

The Amherst College and Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey teams simply wouldn’t let their seasons end. The two teams set an NCAA record for the longest championship game in the Division 3 final on Sunday. Three overtimes that lasted 101 minutes and 33 seconds also broke the record for the longest NCAA tournament game.

In the end, Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) got redemption after falling in overtime last season in the national title game to Middlebury. Kaitlyn Holland scored the game winner early in triple OT, picking up a rebound at the side of the net and shoveling it past Amherst goalie Natalie Stott to give the Gusties the 2-1 win at Orr Rink.

It was their first ever national championship, and also marked the first time a Division 3 women’s hockey team from the West has ever won a national title. 

Despite the loss, it was a historical and memorable game that both sides will be talking about for a long time. 

“I've never seen anything like this in my 24 years coaching – a team play so hard every minute of every game for an entire season. Never give an inch out there, forecheck, back check, blocking shots, the energy, the passion,” Amherst head coach Jeff Matthews said. “It was incredible to be part of. I’m looking forward to the next few days to really soak it all in, what a special year and experience this season was.” 

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Gustavus Adolphus goaltender Katie McCoy made 33 saves to earn the win. At the other end, Stott was a wall in net for Amherst, setting both a new career-high in saves and an NCAA championship record with 59 stops. The first-year netminder made a lot of history during her first season with the Mammoths, also tying the Division 3 single-season shutout record with 14. 

“It’s definitely cool. Obviously we want to be on the winning side of that,” Stott said. “(I was) definitely caring more about the team getting the win than for those individual stats.” 

Senior Carley Daly was the hero for the Mammoths (26-3) at the end of regulation. Down 1-0 with less than two minutes to go, Stott raced to the bench for an extra attacker. Avery Flynn let loose a blast from the point that was tipped by Daly and past McCoy with 1:12 left in regulation, giving Amherst new life and forcing OT.

“We had it set that we wanted to go D to D and get a shot on net and just wanted as many bodies to the net as we could possibly get. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and was able to get a stick on the puck,” Daly said. “It was a great shot from the point and great movement D to D.” 

Gustavus Adolphus came out fast and furious in the opening period, controlling most of the play and peppering Stott with shots. The Mammoths had a pair of power plays in the opening frame, but the end of the first period had the score still knotted at 0-0. 

The Gusties (27-3) had a ferocious shift 13 minutes into the middle frame, peppering Stott with five shots over a 33-second span before she could cover the puck. That momentum carried over to the next shift, and it was Gustavus Adolphus that scored the first goal of the contest. Lily Mortensen picked up the puck off a faceoff and drove right to the net, jamming the puck past Stott to break her 369 minute, 18 second shutout streak that dated all the way back to Feb. 18. 

“I thought we got better toward the end of the (first) period. We started to get some momentum going in the first and the game started to settle in from there. I thought we had a better second and I thought our best period was our third,” Matthews said. “Scoring that last goal the way they did, it just exemplified them as a team, their season, how they played all year.” 

For the team’s four seniors, Leslie Schwartz, Avery Flynn, Kate Pohl and Daly, it was an incredible journey, despite the disappointing ending.

“It's been an amazing ride, an incredible journey. We joked that we came in to play one last game and we ended up playing two with all the overtime,” Schwartz said. “It's a  game I don't think any of us will ever forget and obviously it sucks being on this side of it, but we gave it our all, so pretty proud of that.”

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