Elmira blanks Middlebury in women's title gameUWEC wins men's D-III title
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
The Elmira Soaring Eagles got a goal from a freshman, a shutout from a senior and then a little extra help from above as they defeated the Middlebury Panthers 1-0 in the championship game of the NCAA Division III Women’s Frozen Four Saturday night at Wessman Arena.
Elmira freshman Taylor Steadman, who is from Hartford, Vt., a little over an hour away from Middlebury, Vt., scored the game’s lone goal at 12:26 of the second period.
Senior goaltender Lauren Sullivan picked up the shutout with 30 saves, including 13 in the third period. One of her biggest saves came when she stopped Middlebury’s Hannah Bielawski on a breakaway with 7:30 remaining in the third period.
To top that off, Sullivan followed with three more saves in the next 20 seconds.
The help from above came from Laura Hurd, a former Soaring Eagle who was killed in a car accident in 2006.
Hurd, the Division III Women’s Player of the Year in 2005, holds the NCAA Division III record for career scoring with 237 points over four years. She was also a four-time All-American and led Elmira to two national championships.
“It doesn’t get any better, but this win is for Laura, whose last game in 2005 when they got beat at home by Middlebury,” Sullivan said. “We know she’s looking down for us and we know she’s very happy right now.
“Laura also wore a scarf in every hockey game she played in and after she passed away her mom passed it down to the team and it’s been passed down through the generations. I was lucky enough to get it my freshman year and we wear it to every game for good luck.”
Annabelle Jones finished with 25 saves in goal for Middlebury, which was 0-for-4 on the power play.
The shots were 6-6 in a scoreless first period that had Middlebury failing to score on two power plays. Elmira’s best chance to score came at 10:30 when Ella Stewart hit the left post.
Less than a minute after failing to score on a power play, Steadman picked up a loose puck in the crease and put a one-timer over Jones with 7:34 left in the second period.
“I just wanted to get the puck in the net,” Steadman said. “I saw the rebound and there was a space and I took it. I can’t explain the feeling about scoring that winning goal.”
That national championship comes in Dean Jackson’s first year as head coach at Elmira.
“We were joking around earlier that I’m in trouble, I think,” Jackson said. “I’m just going to enjoy this moment and we’ll take it day by day.
“This was a tremendous hockey game. The pace was fantastic, both teams had quality changes, it was just a solid back-and-forth hockey game.”
EAGLE EXTRAS: The Division III Women’s Player of the Year Award was changed to the Laura Hurd Award in 2007. … Sullivan holds Elmira’s record for shutouts in a season with 11. … Elmira also won national titles in 2002 and 2003 and have played in five championship games. … The Eagles are now 13-6 all-time in the Frozen Four. … Middlebury won three straight national titles from 2004 to 2006 and advanced to the championship game in 2007.
The top-ranked Plattsburgh State Cardinals were outshot 25-11 but they made them count as they defeated Gustavus Adolphus 4-0 in the third-place game Saturday afternoon at Wessman Arena.
Teal Gove scored her 28th and 29th goals of the season, Allison Era and Jenny Kistner each scored once and Sydney Aveson picked up the shutout with 25 saves.
Despite allowing 12 shots on goal in the first period, Plattsburgh (27-1-2)took a 1-0 lead on its only shot on goal when Era beat Gustie goaltender Lindsey Hibbard during a 5-on-3 power play with a high wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
St. Peter, Minn.-based Gustavus Adolphus finished the season 27-2-1.
Elmira landed three players on the all-tournament team, including Steadman, Sullivan and Ashley Ryan. Rounding out the team were Heather Marrison of Middlebury, Lindsey Helm of Gustavus Adolphus, and Jenny Kistner of Plattsburgh State.
NCAA Division III Tournament
Plattsburgh State 5, St. Norbert 2
Middlebury 3, Norwich 2, OT
Elmira 4, Bowdoin 0
Gustvus Adolphus 2, UW-River Falls 1
At Wessman Arena, Superior
Friday, March 15
Middlebury 4, Plattsburgh State 1
Elmira 4, Gustavus Adolphus 3, OT
Saturday, March 16
Plattsburgh State 4, Gustavus Adolphus 0
Elmira 1, Middlebury 0
Men’s Division III Championship
UW-Eau Claire 5, Oswego State 3
Brandon Stephenson made 27 saves and the Blugolds (24-5) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to claim their first NCAA Division III title in Lake Placid, N.Y.
UW-Eau Claire knotted the game at 2-2 by the end of the first, and scored the only goal of the second period to take the lead for good over Oswego State (25-5).