Feeling the opportunity for a three point weekend, Head Coach Brett Petersen went with the lucky retro gold sweaters for Saturday’s rubber match between Gustavus and Augsburg. The decision was a good one, as the Gustavus men’s hockey team bounced back from a rough last weekend and looked right at home in MIAC play with a 4-1 victory over Augsburg on Saturday night in St. Peter, Minn. With three points, the Gusties moved into a three-way tie for first place in the MIAC with Hamline and St. Thomas.
Zach May, the latest addition to the Ringo-Wieck line, had a breakout weekend, scoring the game-tying goal last night in Minneapolis, and adding two more goals and an assist tonight. May now has six goals and four assists for 10 points on the season.
“This is the second week now that we have had Zach up with Ringo and Wieck, and he has found a way to produce. If he keeps that up he will probably stay there for a while,” said Head Coach Brett Petersen with a chuckle on May’s play over the weekend.
Two of the first three Gustavus goals of the contest were scored on rebound put-backs. May gave the Gusties a big boost with less than a minute to play in the first period with a rebound goal on a one-timer following a Henrik Reisvang shot from the right point. The Gusties outshot the Auggies 13-to-3 in the opening frame.
“Internally, it was a huge burst to score the first goal. We have trailed all of 2011, so when we got that first period goal tonight we were sort of able to take a step back, take a breath and play our game,” commented Petersen.
The Gusties kept the pressure on early in the second period, scoring twice at the 4:35 and 5:25 marks. May was there in front of the net again to put home rebound following a wrap-around try by Ross Ring-Jarvi to put Gustavus up 2-0. Less than a minute later, the Gusties went up 3-0 when Ryan Johnson had all day to think about where in the net to put the puck after receiving a beautiful pass in the slot right of the goalie from teammate Joey Olson.
Augsburg’s Joel Sauer cut the lead to 3-1 on a quick screen shot from between the circles at the 9:47 mark. The Gusties got the goal back at the 16:59 mark when Ring-Jarvi caught goaltender Justin Lochner off guard with a blazing wrister from the top of the right circle, putting Gustavus back on top by three goals at 4-1.
Goaltender Josh Swartout stepped up to a blistering of shots in the third period, turning away 19 shots for a total of 36 saves in the game. Swartout moves to 6-4-2 on the season with a save percentage of .908 and a goals against average of 2.55. The win was also Swartout’s 40th of his career at Gustavus. He is one of only five goalies in Gustavus hockey history to hit the 40-win milestone.
“Swartout allowed just three goals this weekend, and we are proud of him for getting his 40th career victory tonight,” said Petersen on Swartout’s 40th victory. “He joins a pretty exclusive group of Gustavus goalies and it’s quite an accomplishment.”
Swartout also kept his unblemished record against Augsburg intact with the victory, improving to 7-0-1 in his career against the Auggies.
“It was a good start for our team. They came out a little flat and it just showed how much we tired them out last night,” said Josh Swartout. “We came in ready and focused on the task at hand. They like to slow the game down, but we played our fast-paced up-tempo game and that really kept it in our favor.”
The Gustavus penalty kill put a cap to an outstanding weekend by blanking the Auggies on six power play opportunities on the night. Gustavus scored on the power play for the second night in a row, going 1-for-3 in the contest.
“We changed some things coming off last weekend that turned out for the better, but it also helps when your best penalty killer is you goalie,” said Petersen. “We got a couple of power play goals this weekend, which had been dry as of late, but overall it was a great sign for this team.”
Justin Lochner suffered the loss between the pipes for the Auggies, giving up four goals and making 23 saves. Lochner is now 4-5-2 on the season.
With the victory, Gustavus improves to 4-2-2 in the MIAC and 10-5-2 overall, while Augsburg falls to 2-3-1 in the MIAC and 8-5-2 overall.
The Gusties will be back at home on Friday night against Saint John’s for game one of the weekend series beginning at 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live with live stats available through the Gustavus Athletics website.