The Gustavus men’s hockey team used a three-goal second period to cruise to a 5-1 victory over Saint John’s on Friday night in St. Peter, Minn. Five different players scored a goal in the game, as the Gusties earned another two points and remain atop the conference standings alongside Hamline with 12 points. Gustavus improves to 5-2-2 in the MIAC and 11-5-2 overall, while Saint John’s falls to 2-5-0 in the MIAC and 3-13-0 overall.
After a sluggish start, the Gusties were able to settle into their game and generate shots on the net in the second half of the opening period. Zach May and Ring-Jarvi connected for the second straight game to put Gustavus up 1-0 at the 14:47 mark. Ring-Jarvi beat goaltender J.D. Wells with a quick one-timer off a no look pass from May in front of the net. Ring-Jarvi and May are both currently on a three-game point-streak.
“At the 10-minute mark of the first period, we started to get it going. We got our feet underneath us a little bit and had some good O-zone time and were rewarded with Ringo’s goal,” said Head Coach Brett Petersen.
The Gusties kept the momentum going into the second period, lighting the lamp early and often on goals by Ryan Noonan, Shael Hechter, and Dane Erickson. After missing the majority of the season due to injury, Noonan got his first goal of the season at the 2:34 mark, giving Gustavus a 2-0 lead. A big hit by Henrik Reisvang at the center circle led to a break and a centering pass from Hechter to Noonan, who went five-hole for the goal.
With just five seconds left in the power play at the 9:02 mark, Shael Hechter ripped a slap shot from the right dot that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net, putting Gustavus up 3-0.
Dane Erickson extended the lead to 4-0 at 14:59 with a quick snap shot from the bottom of the right circle, beating Wells in the top right corner of the goal.
Gustavus held a 21-14 advantage in shots after the first two periods. They would go on to outshoot the Johnnies 27-23 in the game.
The Gusties final goal (5-0) of the game came in the 17th minute of the third period on a breakaway by Adam Smyth. Gustav Bengtson found Smyth in the clear behind the defense, and Smyth beat goaltender Tony Civello by finishing with the backhand to the left of the net.
“It was nice to get a little balance and get goals from a lot of different players tonight. All the guys got good looks and they took advantage of them,” said Petersen.
Saint John’s lone goal came on a 4-on-3 power play at the 17:43 mark of the third period. The power play goal by Saint John’s ended Gustavus’ 15 straight penalty kill streak that dated back to Jan. 8, 2011 against UW-Stout.
The Gusties were 1-for-4 on the power play, scoring with the man-advantage for the third straight game. Gustavus is now 9-2-2 on the season when it scores on the power play.
“We got power play goals in each game last weekend and we got another one tonight and that has been huge for us the last few outings,” commented Petersen on the Gustie special teams.
Goalminder Josh Swartout was put in difficult situations at various moments of the night, yet turned in another rock-solid performance between the pipes. Swartout allowed the lone goal and made 22 saves in a complete game. In the last three MIAC contests, he has a goals against average of 1.33 and a save percentage of .954. Swartout improves to 7-4-2 on the season with the victory.
J.D. Wells suffered the loss for the Johnnies, allowing four goals and making 14 saves in 34:59 minutes. Tony Civello logged 25:01 minutes, giving up one goal and making eight saves.
Hecter finished the game with three points (1G, 2A), while Brad Wieck (2A) and Ring-Jarvi (1G, 1A) each recorded two points. Ring-Jarvi currently leads the team with 17 points, as Wieck has a team-high 12 assists on the year.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will begin a four game road-stand tomorrow with a trip to St. Cloud, Minn. for game two against Saint John’s. The Gusties and Johnnies will face-off at 2:00 p.m. at the National Hockey Center located on the campus of St. Cloud State University.
“The reality for us is that we go on the road for four straight games. It was huge for us to basically hold serve because we know we’ve got to get on the bus for the next couple weeks,” said Petersen. “It will be a completely different game tomorrow. They play different at home, so we are going to need good goaltending from Swartie tomorrow.”