The Gustavus Adolphus College men’s hockey lost to Bethel University 3-2 on Saturday night in St. Peter, Minn. The Royals scored the winning goal on a power play with :32 seconds left in the game. It was a tough pill to swallow for the Gusties who suffered their first two conference losses of the season losing 4-3 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday.
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie through two periods before combining to score five goals in the third period. Bethel scored first when Ryan Adams drilled a blast past Gustavus goaltender Kevin Johnson from the right circle at the 3:52 mark. The Royals extended their lead to 2-0 :41 seconds later when Brad Peterson rushed up the ice and stroked a slapshot past Johnson from the left circle (4:33).
The Gusties kept battling and cut the lead to 2-1 when Tim Ornell scored a power-play goal at the 9:18 mark. Ornell tipped a blast from the point from Jon Keseley past Royal goaltender Aaron Damjanovich. Four minutes later, Gustavus tied the game at 2-2 when Ben Olilla took a pass from Eric Bigham and streaked right up the middle of the ice beating Damjanovich on the stick side.
The game looked like it might be heading for overtime, but the Gusties were whistled for hooking penalty at the 17:27 mark putting the Royals on the power play. Less than a minute later, the Gusties were whistled for a second penalty, this time a boarding call. The Royals skated with the two player advantage for a full minute and just as one of the Gustie skaters was coming back on the ice, Bethel’s Steve Eastman drove a blast from the left circle past Johnson for the game-winner with :32 left on the clock. The Gusties called a timeout and pulled their goaltender with :24 seconds left, but the Royals held on for the victory.
Kevin Johnson took the loss in the nets for Gustavus. He recorded 20 saves. Aaron Damjanovich picked up the win for Bethel. He turned away 17 shots.
Gustavus falls to 10-8-1 overall and 8-2-0 in the MIAC, while Bethel improves to 8-8-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the MIAC. The Gusties will face St. Thomas next weekend, while the Royals will battle Concordia.