The Lake Forest College women's hockey team, ranked 10th in the nation by D3hockey.com, held on for a 3-2 victory at Marian University on Saturday to claim at least a share of the 2014 Northern Collegiate Hockey Association championship. A loss by the College of St. Scholastica at St. Norbert College later in the afternoon clinched the Foresters' second outright title in team history.
By virtue of leading the league with a 13-3-2 conference record and 28 points, Lake Forest wins the inaugural Kronschnabel Trophy, given the the NCHA's regular season champion. The Foresters will also host the NCHA Slaats Cup Four in two weeks. Two semifinal games will be played on Friday, March 7, and the final will take place the next day.
All three Forester goals on Saturday were scored by sophomore forward Michelle Greeneway, who leads the nation and is the new program record-holder with 29 scores on the season. She began her fourth hat trick of the season with a score at the 19:28 mark of the opening period. The goal was assisted by junior forward Morgan Pope.
Greeneway struck again at the 10:31 mark of the second period and completed the hat trick two-and-a-half minutes later. Her second goal of the game was assisted by Pope and sophomore forward Holly Lesperance and the third was set up by sophomore defenseman Alex Stensland.
Marian finally got on the scoreboard on a power play goal with 48 seconds to play in the second period and closed to within a goal of the Foresters at 10:54 in the third. The Sabres pulled their goaltender with 48 seconds remaining in the third period but were unable to tie the score.
Lake Forest senior goaltender Stacey Dierking made 18 saves in the game, including nine in the final 20 minutes, to earn the vicory. She is now 7-2-2 on the season and 32-14-5 in her career.
The Foresters raised their overall record to 15-5-3 while Marian fell to 5-19-1 overall and 4-14-0 in the league.
The program Greeneway surpassed was held by Kim Herring, who lit the lamp 28 times during the team's only other NCHA championship season in 2009-10. Herring is still the team record-holder with 53 points that year, 13 more than Greeneway has so far this season.
The Foresters and St. Scholastica will have a bye in next weekend's quarterfinal round of the Slaats Cup Tournament, which will consist of Concordia University Wisconsin playing at Adrian College and Marian traveling to St. Norbert College.