Northfield, Minn. – Although the Gustavus men’s hockey team capped the regular season with a sixth straight victory by defeating St. Olaf College 2-0 on Saturday night at the Northfield Ice Arena, the Gusties got no help from the remaining post-season bound teams in the league and will now enter the MIAC Playoffs as the No. 4 seed. With wins tonight, St. Thomas and Saint John’s clinched a share of the 2012-13 MIAC Championship, while Concordia also moved ahead of Gustavus because of the head-to-head tie breaker criteria.
Gustavus finishes the regular season at 15-7-3 overall and 9-5-2 in the MIAC. St. Olaf has now dropped five straight and enters the post season at 10-13-2 overall and 9-7-0 in the MIAC. The 2013 MIAC Playoffs will open on Friday, Feb. 22 when Gustavus hosts St. Olaf at 7:05 p.m. in the first round. The two semifinal games will both be held Saturday, Feb. 23, with top-seeded St. Thomas hosting the No. 4/5 winner in Mendota Heights in one semifinal, and No. 2 Saint John’s hosting No. 3 Concordia in St. Cloud in the other.
In tonight’s series finale between the Gusties and Oles, it was Gustavus striking first. After each team blanked the other on two power play opportunities in the opening 15 minutes of the game, Gustavus got a goal from a likely source – Jack Walsh (So., Mahtomedi, Minn.). At the 15:05 mark of the first period, Walsh scored on the power play off assists from Corey Leivermann (Jr., North Mankato, Minn.) and Tyler Lapic (So., New Prague, Minn.).
The goal was Walsh’s seventh in the past five games and second game-winner in a row. He now shares the team lead in goals scored with 12 alongside Adam Smyth (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.) and is on a six-game point-streak. With the assists on the eventual game-winning goal, Leivermann and Lapic also extended their point-streak to six games.
After failing to convert on two power play chances inside the first ten minutes of the second period, Gustavus added an insurance goal at the 11:32 mark. Darren Lapic (Fr., New Prague, Minn.) scored off of the assists of Dane Erickson (Sr., Woodbury, Minn.) and Brian White (Sr., Fort Frances, Ont.) to put Gustavus on top 2-0.
Darren Lapic’s goal turned out to be the final one of the game, as the two teams skated the rest of the second and third periods without putting any more scores on the board.
St. Olaf outshot Gustavus 26-22 in the final 40 minutes to carry the shots advantage 34-30 in the game. Gustavus went 1-for-4 on the power play and held the Oles scoreless on its two power play chances.
Gustavus goaltender Tyler Venne (Sr., New Hope, Minn.) recorded a shutout for the second time this year, turning away a season-high 34 shots. Venne’s previous best was 30 saves, which he posted three times prior. The senior will head in to the playoffs on a six-game winning-streak with a .913 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average.
To assist fans throughout the playoffs, the MIAC has set up a home page for the 2012-13 MIAC Men’s Hockey Playoffs featuring the teams, seeds, schedules, tiebreaker criteria and more. Throughout the Playoffs the page will be updated with results, recaps, links to live videos and live stats and more. Follow all the action as well on the MIAC scoreboard site.