The 2022 Women’s Division 1 Nationals saw a brand-new format for the teams as they began play at Centene Community Ice Center, in Maryland Heights, Missouri. In the past (excluding last year’s COVID influenced setup), eight teams had competed in a “best of 3” format, with the four winners making the semifinals. This year saw the field expand to 10 teams and a different schedule. The top two seeds, Liberty University and Midland University, would receive bye to the quarterfinals, while the other eight teams would face off to decide who would fill the other six spots.
The second game of the tournament saw its first upset at the #9 seeded Maryville University beat the #4 seeded Adrian College, 5-3. Sarah Brooks had a hat trick for the Saints as well as the game winning goal and punch their ticket to the final eight. Joining them were Indiana Tech, Lindenwood, and Minot State, all who advanced with convincing wins.
For the four teams that lost on Day 1, Day 2 was simple, “win or go home.” Adrian bounced back with an 8-0 win over University of Colorado. UMass, which was shutout in their game vs. Indiana Tech was able to find their offense and ended McKendree’s season 4-1.
With the Quarterfinals set, it was time for the top teams to take the ice for the first time in the tournament. #1 seeded Liberty University came with an unblemished record at 19-0-0, and faced off against Maryville. The Flames defense shut down the Saints, only allowing nine shots to reach Amanda Story, the LU netminder and cruising to a 7-0 victory. Their semifinal opponent would be a familiar face, as #5 Lindenwood would be the second team to upset #4 Adrian three days. Both goalies were able to keep the game at 1-1 until Ardyn Hawryshko scored 4:45 into the third period with what would be deciding goal and sent the Lions to a rematch from last year’s National Championship game.
On the other side of the bracket, #2 seeded Midland dispatched UMass 6-0, with Rylee Martin scoring twice for the Warriors. Their opponent would the Badgers from Minot State, who shut out Indiana Tech 5-0 to punch their ticket to the semifinals. While the matchups would be different, the Semifinalists were the same four teams from the 2021 National Championships in North Dakota.
In the first semifinal, Liberty scored two in the first and two in the second before Lindenwood finally broke through. The Lions were able to make the game 4-2 with about seven minutes in the third period, however that was where the score would stay and the Flames would head back the Championship game for the fourth consecutive year. The second semifinal saw an offensive explosion in the first period, as Midland and Minot State traded goals back and forth until the horn sounded and it was 3-3. While it looked like it would be high scoring affair, there would only be one more tally on the scoresheet. The Warrior’s Kayla Flanigan would find the back of the net 3:58 into the third period, which would prove to the game winner, and put Midland into the finals.
With the finals set, the only question was, “Could Midland pull of the upset?” The first half of the game, things would not have gone much better for the Warriors, as they held LU to one goal in the first period, and tied the game just past the 13:00 mark of the second. However, four minutes later, Liberty regained the lead, and never looked back. The Flames picked up another second period tally and then two more in the third. At the buzzer, Liberty stormed their goaltender and an unprecedented fourth consecutive National Championship. For the second year in a row, Liberty Forward, Yannick Truter was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Listed below is the All-Tournament Teams
Forward- Yannick Truter, Liberty University
Forward- Maggie Marcotte, Midland University
Forward- Alisha O'Hara, Minot State University
Defense- Allison Conybear, Midland University
Defense- Sally Hoerr, Liberty University
Goalie- Emily McDonald, Lindenwood University