The Gustavus men’s hockey team needed a win Saturday at Saint John’s in order to have any chance of avoiding the play-in game of the MIAC Men’s Hockey Playoffs, but could not pick up the weekend split with the Johnnies, falling 4-2 Saturday afternoon at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Saint John’s opened up a 4-0 lead after the second period and held on for the victory.
Pat Eagles put the Johnnies on the board 13:14 into the game off assists from Tom Hartman and Blake Williams. Although the Gusties were unable to find the back of the net in the first period, it was not because they didn’t have the chances. The Johnnies committed a pair of penalties in the game’s first 40 seconds, allowing the Gusties to start the game with a 5-on-3 advantage. Saint John’s was able to kill off both penalties, as well as two more toward the end of the period.
The Johnnies committed three more penalties in the second period, but they scored just as many goals to take a 4-0 lead after two periods. Likewise, the Gusties committed as many penalties in the period as goals scored – zero. Aaron Getchell opened the scoring in the period for the Johnnies, while Darryl Smoleroff added a short-handed goal at the 2:41 mark. Tom Freeman closed out the period with a goal with 28 seconds remaining in the period to give the Johnnies the four-goal advantage.
The Gusties picked up the intensity in the third period, committing a total of six penalties during the game’s final 20 minutes. Gustavus capitalized on that intensity, scoring a pair of goals to cut the lead to 4-2. Junior Mike Hosfield (Golden Valley, Minn.) scored the first Gustie goal at the 15:24 mark of the period off assists from senior Steve Dusich (Apple Valley, Minn.) and junior Jon Keseley (St. Louis Park, Minn.).
Junior Steven Jensen (Kentwood, Mich.) drew the Gusties within two goals midway through the period with a goal off assists from Hosfield and Keseley.
Gustavus was unable to get any closer as Johnnies goalie Adam Hanna accumulated 20 saves, including six in the third period. Hanna improved to 16-6-3 on the season.
Gustavus goalie Erik Kraska (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) stopped 24 shots, but picked up the loss to fall to 12-8-1 on the season.
The Gusties, who wrapped up the regular season with a 14-10-1 record overall, will travel to Columbia Arena in Fridley to face Bethel Tuesday night in the MIAC Men’s Hockey Tournament Play-In Game. The Royals split with Saint Mary’s this weekend to move to 8-6-2 overall. Bethel swept the Gusties during the regular season.