The Gustavus men’s hockey team traveled to Minneapolis, Minn. to face conference opponent Augsburg in the first game of the weekend series. Both teams are in the hunt for a spot in the MIAC post-season playoffs and needed to win on Friday. The Gusties jumped out to an early lead but were unable to hang on as the Auggies scored three unanswered goals to win 7-4.
Gustavus jumped out to an early lead with a goal from Ben Ollila just 2:40 into the opening period. Mike Hosfield and Kyle Menken assisted on the opening goal. Ollila added another Gustavus goal at 14:20 of the first period to give Gustavus a two-goal advantage. The Auggies responded by scoring at 16:35 with a goal from Greg May and a power play goal from Steve Collova at 18:43 to tie the game at two goals apiece.
Critter Nagurski gave the Auggies their first lead of the night with a goal 2:13 into the second period. Eighteen seconds later David Clements scored an unassisted goal to give the Auggies a 4-2 advantage. The Gusties responded with a goal from Kyle Menken at 5:23, which was assisted by Joe Ulwelling. Menken would find the net again with a power play goal at 13:31 to equalize. Keith Detlefsen was credited with the assist. Augsburg jumped back into the lead at 14:40 with a goal from Joe Haehn and increased its lead to two with a short-handed goal from Critter Nagurski at 16:51. After 40 minutes of play, Augsburg led the Gusties by a score of 6-4.
The Auggies added another goal at 9:32 from Steve Belde to make the final 7-4. Auggie goaltender Tony Ciro turned away 33 shots to record his eighth win of the season. Gustie goaltender Brett Sawyer made 22 saves a was credited with the loss.
Augsburg, Gustavus and St. Mary’s remain in the hunt for the fifth and final spot in the conference playoffs. St. Mary’s lost 3-2 at St. Olaf on Friday night, so it is a three-way tie for the final position with the Auggies, Gusties and Cardinals with 13 points each.
Gustavus will host Augsburg tomorrow night in St. Peter, while St. Mary’s will host St. Olaf in Winona. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:00pm on Saturday night. If the Gusties win tomorrow night, they will advance into the playoffs regardless of a St. Mary’s win. Gustavus holds an advantage over St. Mary’s, based on a sweep of the teams’ series January.