The Gustavus men’s hockey team advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the second consecutive season with a 3-1 win over St. Thomas before a crowd of 1,100 at Don Roberts Ice Rink on Wednesday night. The Gusties led 1-0 after one period and 2-0 after two periods before finishing with the 3-1 victory. Gustavus (20-6-2) will now play St. Norbert College (22-3-3) in DePere, Wis. on Saturday night for a chance to advance to the NCAA Championship Finals in Lake Placid, New York on March 19-20. Brad Wieck, Joe Welch, and Ross Ring-Jarvi scored for Gustavus, while Rory Dynan registered two assists. Josh Swartout picked up the win in goal for the Gusties.
Gustavus put a lot of pressure on St. Thomas goaltender Joe Schraeder in the first period with the Gusties out-shooting the Tommies 10-1 in the first six minutes of the contest. The aggressive play finally paid off for the Gusties when Brad Wieck scored at the 7:04 mark off of a rebound of a shot by Rory Dynan who was credited with the assist on the goal. Gustavus continued to pressure Tommie netminder Schraeder the entire period, but Schraeder shut the Gusties down and allowed the Tommies to head to the locker room trailing 1-0 after the first 20 minutes of play despite being out-shot 14-3.
In the second period, Gustavus extended its lead to 2-0 when Joe Welch fired a wrist shot past Schraeder from just in front of the right side of the net at the 2:20 mark. James Leathers and T.J. Ridley were credited with assists on the goal. St. Thomas picked up the pace after the Gusties second goal and put consistent pressure on Gustavus goaltender Josh Swartout for the next eight minutes of play. Swartout was up to the challenge making six consecutive saves in a stretch where the Tommies out-shot Gustavus 6-0. Neither team could find the net the rest of the period and the Gusties led 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.
Gustavus maintained its two goal lead through the first half of the third period, but the Tommies cut the lead to 2-1 when Parker Burgess scored at the 13:43 mark. Just ten seconds later, Gustavus’ Eric Bigham was whistled for an interference penalty and the Tommies would get an opportunity to tie the score at 2-2. The Gusties, however responded with an aggressive penalty kill and dominated play during the two minutes of the St. Thomas power play. Gustavus regained the momentum after the successfully killing the penalty and put the game on ice when Ross Ring-Jarvi scored at the 17:51 mark to give the Gusties a 3-1 lead. Rory Dynan ripped a slapshot just wide of the net that caromed off the back boards and right out in front of the net where Ring-Jarvi one-timed the puck past a surprised Schraeder.
St. Thomas pulled its goaltender and played with the extra attacker for the final minute of the game, but were unable to score. Gustavus goaltender Josh Swartout registered 18 saves and picked up his 19th win of the year (19-3-2). Joe Schraeder turned away 37 shots in goal for the Tommies.
With the win, the Gusties improved to 20-6-2 on the season reaching 20 wins for the first time since 1992-93 when Gustavus finished at 22-6-1.