The Gustavus men’s hockey team scored five consecutive goals to defeat Hamline 5-2 in the MIAC Playoff Championship game on Wednesday in front of a standing-room only crowd at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Rory Dynan and Ross Ring-Jarvi registered two goals each, while goaltender Matt Lopes turned in a solid performance with 17 saves. The Gusties, which improved to 17-10-0 overall, earned their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1993.
The Pipers started the scoring in the first minute of the game when Ryan Kupperman put a forehand under the pads of Gustavus goaltender Matt Lopes at the 00:58 mark. The goal was created after Brian Arrigoni intercepted a pass in the Gusties’ defensive zone and guided the puck to Kupperman.
Hamline struck again minutes later after Arrigoni hit Kyle Kurr mid-stride at neutral ice after another errant Gustavus pass. Kurr skated in on Lopes and took a shot from the high slot just over the goaltender’s glove to put the Pipers ahead 2-0 3:22 into the game.
Both teams played at a feverish pace throughout the rest of the period until Hamline was whistled for an interference penalty. On the next shift, the Gusties’ Mitch Carlson took a shot form the left point that was deflected and bounced around in front of the net. Rory Dynan stuffed the rebound into the goal under the pads of Hamline goaltender Beau Christian to cut the Gustavus deficit in half at 2-1 with 5:05 remaining in the period.
The goal gave the Gusties new life as they increased the pressure in the Piper zone. David Martinson put a shot on goal as Christian made the initial save, but Ross Ring-Jarvi flipped a one-time rebound into the top left corner of the net over Christian’s blocker at 18:38 as the score was tied 2-2 at the first intermission.
Gustavus continued to control play in the second period as the Gusties had quality chances to take their first lead of the game. It was not until Brad Wieck forced a neutral ice turnover and found Ring-Jarvi. Ring-Jarvi proceeded to beat a defender, moving the puck from the forehand side to the backhand, and sliding it just inside the left post to put Gustavus ahead 3-2 at 13:34 in the second period. The Gusties tacked on their fourth goal of the game less than a minute when Cody Mosbeck fired a pass from the right blue line to the lower left circle to Dynan, who fired a slapshot under the pads of Christian.
At the start of the final period, Gustavus held a 4-2 advantage. Neither team scored until 13 minutes into the period after a Hamline defenseman fell in his defensive end as he was trying to play the puck. Eric Bigham picked it up and circled around the back of the net to find Brad Wieck for the shot. Christian made the first save, but Wieck followed his shot and pounded home the rebound to give the Gusties a three-goal lead with 6:28 remaining in the contest. Consequently, the Pipers called timeout, but were unable to narrow the gap as Gustavus came away with the 5-2 victory.
Senior goaltender Matt Lopes finished the game with 17 stops including eight in the third period as he improved to 10-4-1 on the season. Hamline’s Beau Christian made 23 combined saves in the second and third period en route to a game total of 30 saves as he finished the season with a record of 9-7-1 as the Pipers ended the season at 16-11-1.
Gustavus won its first MIAC Playoff Championship since the 1992-93 season when the Gusties defeated St. Thomas 4-2. With the win, Gustavus earned the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament as it will make its first appearance in the national tournament since 1992-93 and seventh appearance since 1980.