February 24, 2016 | 3 p.m.
By Tim Beasley, Assistant Sports Information Director
The Bethel University women's hockey team wrapped up their first MIAC championship in program history by finishing off a dominant series sweep of Concordia with a 5-0 victory on February 20. The Royals posted another shutout, this one with Maggie Straka in net, and racked up three, second period goals to win the series by a combined 8-0 score with the Cobbers, who entered the weekend tied with Bethel in second place.
After a strong start to Friday night’s game the Royals once again set the tone early, scoring just 1:39 in and firing off nine shots to just one for Concordia in the first five minutes, forcing the Cobbers to take an early timeout. Kirsten Olson knocked in a rebound of Wendy Roberts shot for the Royals first score. Jill Larson also assisted on the goal. While Bethel did not score again in the first period, the Royals dominated the period. The second was much the same and this time the scoreboard reflected the Royals play as they totaled three goals in the period. Caroline Kivisto teamed up with Lauren Kolak and Briita Nelson for Bethel's second goal at 5:52 in the second. Briita Nelson then got a score of her own with Kivisto assisting at 13:34 to make it 3-0. At 18:30 in the second Kolak converted on a nice backhand goal to make it 4-0. Nelson and Kivisto were awarded assists. The Royals top line was not done scoring however as Kolak added an empty net goal just over two minutes remaining. Nelson and Karly Vohden assisted. Kolak, Kivisto, and Nelson all totaled three points on the day. Straka was outstanding in her first action since suffering a concussion on January 30 at Hamline in a 5-1 loss. Straka made 24 saves including 15 saves while on the penalty kill. Concordia had five power plays but was unable to convert on any of them. Bethel was 0-for-2.
The Royals finish the MIAC regular season with a 12-4-2 record and 26 total points, the same as the University of St. Thomas who will be the No. 1 seed for the MIAC playoffs based on their series win over Bethel back in November. Bethel will be the No. 2 seed and will host Augsburg on February 27 at 2 p.m. in the semifinals.