Sophomore defenseman Keith Detlefsen scored with :26 remaining in regulation play to give Gustavus an exciting 5-4 win over Bethel College at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter on Friday night. The Gusties improve to 11-8-3 overall and 8-3-2 in the MIAC, while the Royals fall to 4-16-1 overall and 2-11-1 in the MIAC.
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 lead as a result of first period goals by Cris Carroll and Brian Saintey. Carroll’s goal, which was shorthanded, came at the 7:31 mark, while Saintey’s goal was scored at 11:19. The Gusties cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Jason Watters at the 13:30 mark. The Royals were outshot 15-12 in the first period, but took a 2-1 lead into the lockerroom.
In the second period, Bethel extended its lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal by Jon Kramer at the 3:35 mark. Gustavus battled back once again and cut the lead to 3-2 when Brandon Buskowiak lit the lamp just a minute-and-a-half later at 5:12. Bethel out-shot the Gusties 11-9 in the period and led 3-2 at the second intermission.
Gustavus came out of the lockerroom fired up and tied the score at 3-3 when Joe Ulwelling scored just 1:26 into the third period. Four minutes later (5:30), Adam Meyer scored a power-play goal to give the Gusties their first lead of the game at 4-3. Gustavus held on to its lead for over eight minutes until Bethel?s Jon Kramer tallied his second goal of the night to knot the score at 4-4. It appeared that the game was heading to overtime when Detlefsen picked up a loose puck in front of the net in a lot of traffic and slipped it past Bethel netminder Dustin Thompson for the game-winner.
The statistics supported how closely the game was played as the Gusties held a slight advantage in shots at 35-33. Neither team held more than a three-shot advantage in any period. Gustavus freshman Brett Sawyer picked up the win in the nets while recording 29 saves. Bethel goaltender Dustin Thompson, who turned away 30 shots, suffered the loss.
The win moved Gustavus to within two points of clinching a MIAC Playoff spot. A win over the Royals on Saturday night, would earn the Gusties a spot in the post-season for the third consecutive year.