The Gustavus men’s hockey team lost its first game of the season 7-5 against top-ranked St. Norbert College on Saturday at All Seasons Arena in Mankato, Minn. The Gusties fought back from a 6-2 deficit to trail by one goal midway through the third period, but an empty net goal by the Green Knights ended the comeback. David Martinson scored two goals and an assist to lead Gustavus as St. Norbert allowed five goals for the first time since February 3, 2007. The Gusties are 0-1-0, while the Green Knights improved to 2-0-0.
St. Norbert got on the scoreboard first at the 8:37 mark in the high-scoring first period when Tyler Allen scored on the Green Knights’ first power play opportunity of the game. Gustavus responded less than a minute later when James Leathers (Jr., Prior Lake, Minn.) put the puck in the net at 9:25 as Eric Bigham (Jr., Robbinsdale, Minn.) and Patrick Dynan (Jr., Maple Plain, Minn.) were credited with the assists.
David Martinson (Jr., St. Louis Park, Minn.) evened the game at 2-2 when he scored a power play goal on a give-an-go play from Ross Ring-Jarvi (Fy., Anoka, Minn.) at 12:02. St. Norbert was not done scoring in the period, though, as Shane Wheeler put the Green Knights on top 3-2 heading into the first intermission.
In a physical second period, the visiting squad scored three unanswered goals to take a commanding 6-2 lead with 3:33 on the clock. When it appeared St. Norbert had seized all momentum, Martinson received a pass up the middle of the ice from Matt Schugel (So., Roseville, Minn.) and broke between two defenders for a one-on-one chance against Green Knight goaltender B.J. O’Brien. Martinson flipped the puck into the right corner of the net to cut the margin to 6-3 at 18:41 in the period.
The goal energized Head Coach Brett Petersen’s team deep into the third period as Gustavus scored two more times to trim the lead to 6-5. Ring-Jarvi put the puck past O’Brien in the right corner of the net after receiving a pass from Martinson with 13:36 remaining in the game. Spencer Campion (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) also assisted the goal. Less than three minutes later, the Gusties struck again when Bigham pounded in the puck in front of the net directly after a faceoff won by Patrick Dynan.
Gustavus continued to pressure St. Norbert in its own end, but were unable to tie the score. Coach Petersen called timeout with 1:05 left in the contest to draw up the play, but the Green Knights were able to seal the win with an empty net goal from Allen at 19:23.
Gustie goaltender Josh Swartout (So., St. Louis Park, Minn.) made 22 saves in the game and allowed six goals. O’Brien made 19 saves for St. Norbert, while giving up five goals as the Green Knights extended their unbeaten streak to 31 games.
Gustavus will face Lake Forest on Saturday at All Seasons Arena in Mankato at 7:05 p.m.