The Gustavus men’s hockey scored twice in a three-minute span midway through the third period allowing the Gusties to claim a 4-2 win over St. Olaf at home on Friday evening. Josh Pauer was credited with the game-winner at the 9:37 mark and Niko Suoraniemi gave the Gusties some breathing room with a goal at the 12:04 mark. Matt Lopes picked up the win in the nets. Gustavus is now 5-4-0 overall and 3-2-0 in the MIAC.
St. Olaf jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Nick Stalock scored on a power play goal just three-and-a-half minutes into the contest. Gustavus tied the score at 1-1 then minutes later when David Martinson scored an even strength goal at the 6:25 mark. The score was tied 1-1 after the first period.
The Oles came out hard in the second period and moved back into the lead when John Paulson scored at the 2:35 mark. The 2-1 lead was short-lived, however as Ben Ollila scored a power play goal at 4:31 to tie the score at 2-2. Neither team could find the net the rest of the period and the team’s went back into the locker room with the scored tied at 2-2.
The third period was played at a frenetic pace with both teams pushing the puck up the ice. Both goaltenders were called upon to make some big saves, however the Gusties took their first lead of the night when Josh Pauer shot the puck between his legs and through the five-hole of Ole goaltender Jake Busch from just outside the left post at 9:37 of the final frame. Two-and-a-half minutes later, Gustavus extended its lead to 4-2 when Joe Welch skated aggressively up the left side of the ice on a 2-on-1 break and used a nifty spin move to get a round the Ole defenseman and then dropped the puck off to a streaking Niko Suoraniemi who one-timed a shot into the upper right corner of the net (12:04). The Gusties held the Oles off for the final eight minutes and claimed the come-from-behind 4-2 victory.
Gustavus, which outshot St. Olaf 8-3 in the third period, finished the game with a slim 26-22 advantage in shots. The Gusties scored once in four opportunities with the man advantage, while the Oles scored on one of their five powerplay chances.
Gustie netminder Matt Lopes improved to 3-1-0 on the season. He turned away 20 shots in the game. Jake Busch, who recorded 22 saves, suffered the loss in the nets for St. Olaf.
Balance in the attack was once again a strength for Gustavus as four different players scored a goal and nine players recorded at least one point. Niko Suoraniemi (one goal and one assist) and James Leathers (two assists) led the Gusties with two points each.
The win for Gustavus was the sixth in the last seven regular season games with the Oles.
The Gusties will play the Oles in the series finale tomorrow night at 8:05 pm in Northfield.