SUPERIOR, Wis. — Goaltender Lauren Sullivan kept Elmira in its national semifinal game long enough for Sam Curk to win it.
Curk scored 19:22 into overtime Friday, lifting No. 5 Elmira past No. 2 Gustavus Adolphus 4-3 and sending the Soaring Eagles into Saturday’s national championship game against Middlebury.
Elmira (23-5-1) handed the Golden Gusties (27-1-1) their first loss of the season; Middlebury also handed Plattsburgh its first loss in the earlier semifinal.
Sullivan made 38 saves, 10 of them in overtime, to give the Soaring Eagles a chance to stay with the Gusties.
Gustavus Adolphus twice held a one-goal lead, including with three minutes remaining in regulation. Tanis Lamoureux erased that one with a short-handed goal with 2:51 left in the third period to send the game to overtime.
Just before the teams reached another intermission, Elmira’s Cassidy Delainey fed Curk behind the defense, and Curk deked goaltender Lindsey Hibbard to the ice and beat her with a high backhand shot.
Curk hadn’t scored since a Jan. 26 game against Buffalo State, and the goal was just her fifth this season.
It lifted Elmira into its first national championship game since 2009, when it lost to Amherst. The Soaring Eagles won titles in 2002 and 2003.
Ashton Hogan put Elmira ahead 1-0 in the first period, but Gustavus Adolphus responded with a pair of goals in the second.
Jenna Christensen and Lindsey Hjelm scored in the opening half of the second period to give the Gusties a 2-1 lead.
Elmira’s Ashley Ryan scored later in the second period to send the teams to the final period of regulation tied 2-2.
Amanda Cartony scored with 8:20 remaining to break that tie, but the Eagles regrouped to force overtime.