As the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) women’s hockey playoffs draw near, the St. Catherine University Wildcats find themselves in the thick of the playoff race. However, in order to stay in the race, St. Kate’s needed to steal at least one of two points from the University of St. Thomas over the weekend. The Wildcats did that and more, as they defeated the Tommies for the first time since 2011-12 on Saturday, thanks to the outstanding play of junior goalie Kristen Pechacek (Park Falls, Wis. / Chequamegon). For her efforts, Pechacek has been named Wildcat Athlete of the Week.
Pechacek played her best game of the season and was instrumental in St. Kate’s 2-1 win over St. Thomas on Saturday. After facing 15 shots and making 15 saves in the opening period, Pechacek surrendered one goal to the Tommies in the final second of the second period after a slap shot deflected off her pad and into the back of the net. However, Pechacek saved her best play for the third and final period. After St. Thomas tied the game, the junior knew she needed to play the best period of her career to give St. Kate’s a chance to win. Pechacek faced a season high 19 saves in the final period and turned every one away, allowing her team to take a 2-1 lead with seven seconds remaining in the game.
Overall, Pechacek faced a career-high 46 shots from the Tommies and made 45 saves, posting a save percentage of .978 in the game. She currently leads the MIAC in save percentage against conference opponents (.948) and is second in overall save percentage (.936). Pechacek also ranks in the top ten in the MIAC in goals against average (GAA) and saves.
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