(Chelsea, MI) – The women's hockey team opened their 2021-22 season Friday night against the Grand Valley State Lakers. CUAA was able to overcome two early goals by Grand Valley to tie things through the end of regulation. Kassidy Scheben was able to finish the job with a goal just under three minutes into overtime to give the Cardinals a win in their season opener.
Lizzy Knappenberger started between the pipes for Concordia, making 27 saves on 29 shots against. The Lakers struck quickly, scoring just 1:58 into the first period to take the 1-0 lead. After some quick back and forth, GVSU would strike again, jumping out to a two-goal lead 4:09 into the contest. The Cardinals would draw two penalties in the second half of the period, building momentum as they fired 16 shots on net in the first frame. However, none would find their way past the Laker goaltender as Grand Valley held a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Concordia killed off two penalty kills in the first 10 minutes of the second period, as Lizzy Knappenberger made several key saves to keep the game within reach. CUAA continued to pepper the Laker net, firing 23 more shots on goal in the second. They were finally rewarded late in the frame, as Grace Dodgson found herself open in front of the net on the powerplay and fired home her own rebound shot for the first goal of the season for the Cards. Kim Mills and Aaliyah James picked up assists on the goal as Concordia cut the lead to one heading into the third.
The third period featured back-and-forth opportunities from both sides and great play in net from the each goaltender. The Cardinals headed to the penalty kill with just 9:52 remaining on the clock and still down a goal, but didn't stay trailing long. 11 seconds later, Grace Dodgson took a pass from Kim Mills, sped by the defenders for a breakaway, and deked to her backhand to beat the Laker goalie and tie the game at 2. Both sides traded more high quality opportunities, and the Lakers looked to have a chance to finish the game off when they earned a minute-long 5-on-3 with 3:26 to go, but CUAA killed it off and eventually brought the game to overtime.
During the five minute, 3-on-3 overtime, GVSU was able to retain possession for substantial time, but were unable to beat Knappenberger in goal. Finally, Kassidy Scheben intercepted a failed Laker clearence from their zone, raced pass the defender, drew a trip, and scored an incredible goal from her knees to send the Cards home victorious.
Concordia outshot Grand Valley 59-29 as they moved to 1-0 on the young season. CUAA will have a quick turnaround as they will travel to Hudsonville for a rematch with Grand Valley tomorrow. The Cardinals and Lakers will play at the Georgetown Griff with the puck drop scheduled for 5:00pm.