FREMONT, Neb. – No. 12 Midland University earned a sweep over Grand Canyon University and a split with No. 11 Grand Valley State University over the weekend at Sidner Ice Arena. The Warriors hosted the two schools for six total games in four days. Midland and Grand Valley State both went 3-1 while Grand Canyon dropped all four of their games.
The Warriors started things off at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday night with a 4-0 win over GCU. The two teams played over 30 minutes of scoreless hockey before Robin Hatcher of Midland found the back of the net just over halfway through the second period. The GCU goalie misplayed a soft shot back to her and the puck rolled in for the score and eventual game winner. Isabelle Uhl-Chmiel and Tieryn Arens would both score in the period for the Warriors as well before Mylie Ketterson lit the lamp for the final time of the night in the third period. Midland outshot the visitors from Phoenix, 53-9.
GCU would hit the ice just over 13 hours later as they were the first team to face Grand Valley State. That game was a one-sided affair as GVSU dominated the Antelopes, 10-0 on the scoreboard.
Friday night saw the first matchup between the two ranked teams. The game lived up to its billing as a back and forth battle broke out. The Warriors would score first in the opening period as Ketterson found got the puck past the keeper near the midpoint of the first. The Lakers would even things early in the second period with a goal in the seventh minute to setup and exciting final period of play.
In the third period it was Midland striking first as Uhl-Chmiel netted her second goal of the weekend at the 3:13. The lead would quickly evaporate though as GVSU responded once again two minutes later. Both teams had their chances over the remaining 14 minutes and change but both goalies and defenses stood their ground. The last minute of regulation Midland’s defense played well keeping the Lakers from scoring on the power play during the final 1:01. However that penalty carried over into the overtime period and with the Lakers have a 4 on 3 advantage, it didn’t take much over a minute to get the game winning goal for the 3-2 victory. Shots were basically even between the teams with Midland putting up 29 and the Lakers getting 28.
Midland wouldn’t have long to dwell on the loss as it was their turn for the quick turnaround as they played at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon against Grand Canyon once more.
During that game it was clear that the Warriors were fatigued. While they once again dominated the shot chart against GCU, they weren’t able to get one past the goalie. After two periods of play the two teams were scoreless still before Uhl-Chmiel pushed home the game-winner at the 5:46 mark.
In the 9:30 p.m. night game on Saturday it was another one-sided match with the Lakers defeating the Antelopes once again, this time by a score of 10-1.
On Sunday Midland and Grand Valley State squared off in another fantastic women’s hockey game. The two evenly matched teams battled back and forth once more. Uhl-Chmiel scored her fourth goal of the weekend in the first to give the Warriors the early lead. The Lakers though responded after the first intermission after a handful of well-drawn up plays in the first two minutes of action. Midland would shore up their defense after that and in turn found a window to sneak a goal past the Lakers’ goalie at the 6:32 mark of the second.
In the third period both teams were showing signs of fatigue from playing four games. However, things definitely livened up as the clocked ticked closer to zero. With just over a minute to play, GVSU pulled their goalie to add an extra attacker. They weren’t able to get many looks at first so with just over 40 seconds left in the game, they called a timeout to set something up. Midland would counter with a timeout of their own, after seeing the personnel on the ice for the GVSU.
The neutral zone face-off was won by the Warriors and played back to their defense and kept away from the attackers until a missed pass turned the puck over the Lakers in the slot. Reacting and not fulling thinking, the Midland defender threw her stick in the path of the puck to stop the shot attempt. That resulted in a penalty shot for the Lakers with 17 seconds on the clock.
After a short break to set the stage, the GVSU skater took the puck and went in for the potential equalizer. Midland goalie McKenna Gehner played set up well, taking away the angles and allowing just one possible goal opportunity, a backside high corner shot. That’s exactly where the attacker was aiming but her shot went high and right. The Warriors would win the ensuing face-off and passed the puck away to secure the 2-1 victory, and a 3-1 record for the weekend.
Gehner won two of her starts, Thursday against GCU and Sunday versus GVSU while teammate Isabel Olsen picked up the victory against GCU on Saturday.
Next up for Midland (7-8-2-1) is a road trip to take on North Dakota State (6-2-0-0) in Fargo, North Dakota. The Warriors and Bison will hit the ice at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday at the John E. Carlson Coliseum.