St. Peter, Minn. - The Gustavus men’s hockey team suffered a 5-0 loss to No. 10 UW-Superior on Saturday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Special teams were the difference tonight as the Yellowjackets took advantage of a Gustavus major penalty late in the first period to score three power play goals within the five-minute time-span on the man-advantage. Gustavus sees its five-game unbeaten-streak come to an end with the loss, dropping to 7-6-1 on the year. UW-Superior closes 2012 on a high note and will head into the second half of its season at 9-3-1.
“I’m happy with the way we played from the start, we skated with energy and created a lot of ‘Grade A’ scoring chances,” said Head Coach Brett Petersen. “Aside from Dalbec’s goals and a mistake that lead to the late second period breakaway, I thought we played a solid game. Our effort was great tonight, yet we just couldn’t get anything to go our way – but that’s hockey and tonight wasn’t our night.”
The turning point in tonight’s hockey game came at the 17:29 mark of the first period when Alex Gallen (Hingham, Mass.) was given a game-misconduct for contact to the head on an elbow. Gallen was sent to the showers, while UW-Superior was awarded a five-minute major penalty.
Head Coach Brett Petersen acknowledged that the Gallen penalty was a turning point in the game. “Superior’s special teams won the game and their goaltender was the best player on the ice tonight,” said Petersen. “We tested him for sure, but he was able to come up with a load of difficult saves.”
Less than :30 seconds into the major, UW-Superior’s Joey Massingham scored the game’s opening goal from Kyle Leahy and Pat Dalbech. Leahy’s shot on goal was initially turned away by Tyler Venne (New Hope, Minn.), yet the rebound came to the stick of Massingham who was on the doorstep for the put-back goal.
With the clock winding down on the first period and the Yellowjackets still skating up a player, another rebound came free to the high left slot where Dalbec picked it up and buried a laser into the top left corner. Gustavus went into the first intermission down 2-0 despite holding an 11-9 shots advantage.
UW-Superior wasted no time in the second period either, scoring at the 1:12 mark to take a 3-0 lead. It was Dalbec once again with score, this time taking the puck off the left boards, clearing himself inside the left circle, and firing a wrister into the top right corner.
Although the Gusties generated 13 shots on goal in the second period, UW-Superior netminder Drew Strandberg was a wall, blanking the Gusties on the evening with a 28-save shutout performance.
To close the second period, Nick Stoskopf created a breakaway for himself with a strong poke-check at the right point of UW-Superior’s defensive end with less than :10 seconds on the clock. Stoskopf skated down the right wing before crossing Venne’s face and beating him with a back-hander.
The Yellowjackets went on to control a penalty ridden third period with a 13-4 shots advantage, giving them the category by a 34-28 margin by the final buzzer.
Sam Prpich brought the score to a final at 5-0 with a late third period goal at the 18:48 mark.
After going 3-for-4 on power play against Lawrence on Friday night, Gustavus was blanked on its six power play chances tonight, including an 0-for-3 showing in the third period.
Tyler Venne suffered the loss in goal after allowing five goals and making 29 saves. Venne is now 3-3-1 with the loss.
Gustavus will head into a much needed break after a week’s worth of practice over the College’s final week of classes beginning on Monday. The Gusties will then be off until returning to campus on Dec. 30 in preparation for a non-conference test against St. Scholastica on Jan. 5 at 7:00 p.m. to start the new year.
“Despite how rocky it has been through the start of the year, I’m proud of the way in which our guys have battled and hung in. This is a team not used to facing injuries, and this year we were banged up before even taking the ice. It has been a big test of their character and my hope is that they can continue to work hard through the second half of our season,” stated Petersen.