After trailing 4-0 by the end of the second period, Gustavus came back with three unanswered goals in the third, yet it would be too little too late as the Gusties fell 4-3 to St. Olaf on Friday night in St. Peter, Minn. St. Olaf goaltender Nick Krauss was lights out for the majority of the game, making 37 saves on the way to his fourth win of the season. The Gusties fall to 9-4-1 overall with the non-conference loss, while St. Olaf improves to 5-5-3.
St. Olaf kicked off the scoring with a two goal first period, taking advantage of a pair of Gustie turnovers in their own zone. Aaron Molstad scored first at the 7:30 mark, and Peter Rohn extended the lead to 2-0 with a power play goal at 15:15. The Gusties outshot the Oles 10-to-9 in the first period, yet were 0-for-2 on the power play.
“It was not the start we wanted, but I thought our guys played hard and generated good chances and got good looks,” said Head Coach Brett Petersen.
Power play goals were the theme for St. Olaf tonight, scoring two more in the second period to take a 4-0 lead. Britton Smith put the Oles up 3-0 four minutes into the frame, and Charlie Raskob notched the game-winner at the 16:40 mark. Britton Smith led the Oles with two points on the night. Krauss was brilliant in the second period, stopping 14 shots and making two big breakaway saves.
“Nick Krauss was the best player on the ice tonight. We had chances, but he did an outstanding job keeping us out of the net,” commented Petersen.
The Gusties got off the schneid at the 5:30 point of the third period when Ross Ring-Jarvi cleaned up a Tim LaBombard rebound, cutting the lead to 4-1. After a 0-for-5 start on the power play, Sam Blaisdell cut the lead to 4-2 with a power play goal on an assist from LaBombard at the 15:40 mark. Illya Kravtchouk made things interesting with an unassisted goal on a slap shot from the left point that found its way through bodies and into the back of the net, bringing the score to 4-3 with just :31 seconds to play. Even with the goalie pulled, Gustavus was unable to get a good look at the equalizer in the final seconds, as the Oles held on for their first victory of the new year.
“We got hurt on special teams tonight, but our young guys played to the end, and that is a good sign for this young group,” said Petersen.
The Gusties were just 1-for-6 on the power play, yet recorded 13 shots with the man advantage. The Oles were able to come up with a big kill on a five minute major penalty assessed to John Avino at the end of the second period for checking from behind. St. Olaf finished 3-for-4 on the power play with seven shots.
The Gusties blistered Kraus with 16 shots in the third period, outshooting the Oles by 14 in the frame. Gustavus would outshoot St. Olaf 40-to-21 in the game.
Goalminder Josh Swartout suffered the loss, giving up four goals and making 17 saves in a complete game effort. Swartout is now 5-4-1 on the season with a goals against average of 2.78 and a save percentage of .897.
“Overall I’m pleased with the effort. Give credit to an outstanding job by their goaltender, but I’m proud to see our guys hang in there,” commented Petersen.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will go on the road for another non-conference test against UW-Stout tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Menomonie, Wis.
1. Nick Krauss
2. Britton Smith
3. Ross Ring-Jarvi