There were two very different semifinal games Saturday afternoon. In the early game the less-rested Long Island Sharks scored one minute in, twice in the first period, and were in control from start to finish against the top seeded Sacred Heart Pioneers, winning 3-0.
The second…hoo boy. Katelyn Brightbill got things started for Franklin Pierce early in the first and it would take until the third for St. Anselm to answer with a Katy Meehan goal. Then we would play hockey for forever. It took five overtimes in what eventually became the longest women’s hockey game ever until Kathleen LeFebre of St. Anselm took a point shot that may or may not have been tipped in by Madison Sprague. I don’t know what the shot totals were because all the box scores are broken.
All four of the games between the final two teams were decided by two goals, though the first St. Anselm win and Long Island win both featured empty-netters. The goals were pretty well-distributed with 12 Hawks and 10 Sharks picking up points in the series. Kaley Campbell of St. Anselm (3-1-4) and Matilda af Bjur (2-2-4) led all skaters.
Whoever scored first won in this series with St. Anselm racing out to 2-0, 3-0, and 2-0 leads in the first three games, though Long Island would respond with two unanswered goals of their own in the first two. In the final game the Sharks scored first, though the Hawks would take a 2-1 lead early in the third before Long Island would seal it with two power-play goals and an empty netter.
With the final being a day after the semifinals the big story will be how much playing almost three full games affects the Hawks. The final is at least set for 4 PM ET tomorrow so they won’t have too early of a start time. Oddly enough, St. Anselm may be the team most well-suited to handle something like this as they sport the largest roster in college hockey with 25 skaters and three goaltenders and every single one of those players logged at least 5 games.
It will be interesting to see if St. Anselm turns to junior Kia Castonguay (.901) or freshman Caroline Kraus (.954) though it’s hard to imagine denying senior Michaela Kane (.917) a championship appearance.
Prediction: Long Island 5-4