Brad Wieck and Casey Dynan scored two goals in the third period to open up a tie game as the Gustavus men’s hockey team defeated St. Thomas 3-1 in a MIAC semifinal contest on Saturday in St. Peter. The win marks the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Gusties recorded three wins over the Tommies. Gustavus, which improved to 16-10-0 overall, will host Hamline in the MIAC Championship game on Wednesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. St. Thomas finished the season at 12-11-3 overall.
The Tommies struck early in the first period when Adam Davis deflected a shot by Phil Johnson past Gustavus goaltender Matt Lopes, who was unable to make the necessary adjustment, at the 2:51 mark. The Gusties had a good chance to put its first goal on the board when Cody Mosbeck streaked down the left side of the Tommie defensive end and just missed the one-timer. Both teams put shots on net for the remainder of the period, but St. Thomas went into the locker room leading 1-0 at the first intermission.
The Gusties came out in the second period with increased intensity in an effort to tie the game. Gustavus nearly accomplished that before the halfway point of the frame when a Patrick Dynan rebound hit the inside of the left post and a Justin Lee slapshot from the left point hit the crossbar.
However, the Gusties would capitalize on a Tommie turnover in their defensive zone before the end of the period. Ross Ring-Jarvi passed the puck to Eric Bigham, who was in position between the face-off circles. Bigham made some fancy stick moves to take an uncontested shot that trickled through St. Thomas goaltender Cary Wood’s legs to tie the score 1-1 with 2:50 left in the second period.
With the score knotted at 1-1 at the start of the third period, the Tommies had the first scoring chance when Alex Coles skated in on Lopes with a defenseman hounding him, but did not score. On the other end of the ice, Ross Ring-Jarvi threw the puck on goal forcing Wood to come out of the crease to make the stop. However, Brad Wieck pounded home the rebound into an empty net, giving the Gusties a 2-1 lead at the 4:26 mark.
Gustavus extended its lead to 3-1 when Casey Dynan slid a long rebound shot between Wood’s legs with 9:18 elapsed in the third period. Dennis Webster was awarded an assist on the goal as he put the initial shot on goal.
St. Thomas had several scoring opportunities to cut into the Gustie lead, but Lopes was up to the challenge as he kept the Tommies off of the board. Wood was pulled from the net with a minute remaining, but to no avail as Gustavus hung on for the 3-1 victory.
Matt Lopes improved his record to 9-4-0 after making 18 stops and allowing the lone Tommie goal. Cary Wood stopped 22 shots for St. Thomas, while giving up three goals in the losing effort. Neither team was effective on the power play as the Gusties were 0-for-3 with the extra attacker and the Tommies were 0-for-1.
Gustavus won its first postseason game since the 2002-03 season and will be making its first appearance in the MIAC Championship game since 2002. St. Thomas suffered its first loss in the semifinal round since 2001.
The No. 2 Gusties will face No. 4 Hamline, which knocked off top-seeded St. Olaf 5-1, in the MIAC Championship game on Wednesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at Don Roberts Ice Rink. The winner of the title contest will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Tickets will go on sale one hour prior to game time and no pre-sale tickets will be available.