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Women's Hockey flips script, claims MIAC championship

Photo by Ryan Coleman, D3Photography
Photo by Ryan Coleman, D3Photography

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Freshman Anna Solheim scored a power-play goal with 52 seconds left in regulation time to cap a furious third-period rally and propel No. 1-ranked St. Thomas to a 3-2 win over No. 4-ranked Hamline in MIAC women's hockey play Friday night in Mendota Heights.

St. Thomas (22-0-2 overall, 15-0-2 MIAC) repeated as MIAC champion and secured the top seed for the five-team league playoffs. It's the Tommies' third conference regular-season crown in six seasons, and first back-to-back regular-season titles in 15 years.

Coach Tom Palkowski's team also pushed its 14-month unbeaten streak to 37 games (30-0-7). The Purple also ended Hamline's 17-game unbeaten streak.

Alyssa Wallace 11:25 left), Maddy Fiedler (7:43 left) and Solheim scored goals in the game's final 11:25 to erase a 2-0 Hamline lead. Solheim has scored a goal in eight of her last 10 games.

Tommie goalie Kenzie Torpy stopped 17 shots and won her league-record 66th career game in her 98th collegiate appearance on the ice.

The Pipers (19-2-3 overall, 13-2-2) controlled the pace throughout the second period and converted impressive power-play goals from Bre Simon and Dani Perry to build a 2-0 lead.

St. Thomas played more aggressively in the final 20 minutes, tightened its defense, and was able to capitalize on two Hamline penalties. The Purple has limited 29 of its last 31 opponents to two or less goals.

These teams close the regular season with a 2 p.m. Saturday rematch at the Tria rink in downtown St. Paul. Both teams have secured top-two playoff seeds and will host semifinal games on Feb. 23.