The Gustavus men’s Hockey suffered its third consecutive loss with a 6-5 setback to St. Thomas on Friday night in St. Peter. The Tommies made the Gusties pay for their penalties scoring on 4-of-5 power play opportunities in the game. Nick Pernula tallied three goals and three assists for six points to lead St. Thomas, while five different players scored for Gustavus.
Joe Welch (Fy., Hastings, Minn.) gave the Gusties a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 6:58 of the first period, however the Tommies would counter with three consecutive goals and take a 3-1 lead into the locker room at then end of the first 20 minutes. The Tommies goals were registered by Nick Harris (8:26), Nick Pernula (15:24), and Kevin Rollwagen (16:09). St. Thomas held an 11-6 advantage in shots in the first period.
St. Thomas increased its lead to 4-1 on Permula’s second goal of the game at 3:05 of the second period. The Gusties came charging back and cut the lead to 4-3 on goals by James (Savage, Minn., Blake) (3:53) and Eric Bigham (Robbinsdale, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret)(6:09). It looked like the Gusties were going to tie the game at 4-4 when Joe Welch found the puck on his stick with on open net directly in front of him, but the Tommies managed to poke the puck away and maintain their one goal lead. St. Thomas pushed the lead back to three goals at 6-3 when Ryan Van Bockel scored a power play goal at 17:27 and Permula completed the hat trick with a power play goal at 18:28.
The Gusties stayed out of the penalty box the entire third period and started to put some pressure on the Tommies. Jon Keseley’s (St. Louis Park, Minn.) power play goal at the 12:41 mark cut the lead to 6-4, and then Joe Welch tallied his second goal of the game with a power play goal at the 13:53 mark making the score 6-5. Gustavus really picked up the pace in the final four minutes of the contest, but Treye Kettwick came up with several big saves to keep the Gusties from evening the score. The Gusties pulled their goaltender with :40 left in the game, but were unable to put any significant shots on the net.
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Gusties who have now suffered three consecutive one goal losses after starting conference play with a perfect 8-0 mark.
Kevin Johnson (Montrose, Minn.), who recorded 15 saves, suffered the loss in the nets for Gustavus. Treye Kettwick, who registered 28 saves for St. Thomas, picked up the victory. The Gusties outshot the Tommies 33-21.
Gustavus falls to 10-9-1 overall and 8-3-0 in the MIAC, while St. Thomas improves to 9-9-0 overall and 5-4-0 in the MIAC. The two teams will match up again tomorrow night at the St. Thomas Ice Rink in Mendota Heights. Game time is 7:05 pm.