The Gustavus men’s hockey team saw its chances for a home game in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Semifinals dashed Friday night with a 5-2 loss at the hands of Saint John’s at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter. Ian Wolff (So., Chanhassen, Minn.) and Sami Idris (So., Gothenburg, Sweden) netted goals for the Gusties.
Wolff netted the game’s first goal, putting a shot past Johnnie netminder Adam Hanna just 4:02 into the game. Tim Ornell and Loren Havemeier (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) were credited with assists on the play. Saint John’s responded three minutes later with a pair of quick goals to give the Johnnies a 2-1 lead. The first Johnnie goal, scored on the power play, came off the stick of Blake Williams at the 7:13 mark of the period. Nick Levar added an even-strength goal just 1:09 seconds later to give Saint John’s a one-goal advantage heading into the locker room for the first intermission.
Saint John’s increased the lead to two goals as Ian Ross scored a power play goal off assists from Darryl Smoleroff and Jordan Swan at the 5:47 mark of the second period. A goal by Sami Idris (So., Gothenburg, Sweden) off an assist from Jon Keseley (Jr., St. Louis Park, Minn.) drew the Gusties to within a goal at 3-2 with 13:06 to play in the period. The Johnnies killed a pair of penalties late in the second period to escape to the locker rooms for the second intermission with a 3-2 lead.
The Gusties nearly evened the score at the 8:00 mark but Cody Drysdale’s (So., Mankato, Minn.) breakaway attempt was turned aside by Hanna. Shortly thereafter, the Johnnies killed another Gustie power play opportunity. Saint John’s increased the lead to 4-2 with 4:41 to play as Jake Swan caught Kraska sweeping across the mouth of the goal, depositing the puck between Kraska’s legs.
The Johnnies pushed the lead to three goals 62 seconds later, scoring on a power play created by a Drysdale cross-checking penalty. Scott Bjorklund, the Johnnies’ leading scorer, picked up the goal off assists from Blake Williams and Darryl Smoleroff.
Hanna snagged 26 saves to lead the Johnnies, improving to 15-6-1 on the season. Kraska stopped 17 shots, dropping to 12-7-1 on the season. Gustavus finished 0-of-6 on the power play, while Saint John’s was able to convert three of five chances.
Smoleroff finished with a goal and three assists to lead the Johnnies, who locked up a home game in the MIAC Playoff Semifinals next Thursday.
With 18 points, the highest the Gusties (14-9-1/9-6-0 MIAC) can finish is third in the MIAC. Saint John’s (15-6-3/10-3-2 MIAC) is assurred of a home semifinal game in next week’s MIAC Playoffs. Both teams will close out the regular season with a 2:05 p.m. game at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.