Head Coach Brett Petersen expected a different game than the one the Gustavus men’s hockey team played on Friday night against the Johnnies – and he got just that. The Gusties fell 3-1 to Saint John’s on Saturday afternoon at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
After Adam Smyth knotted the game at 1-1 with a power play goal at 16:16 of the first period, the Johnnies put two unanswered goals on the board in the second an third period.
The Gusties and Johnnies each pick up two points with the series split. Gustavus drops to second place in the MIAC standings (14 pts) with an overall record of 11-6-2 and a MIAC mark of 5-3-2. Saint John’s moves to 4-13-0 overall and 3-5-0 in the MIAC.
Goaltender Josh Swartout suffered the loss in nets, allowing three goals and making 21 saves. Swartout drops to 7-5-2 overall with the loss. Tony Civello was the winning goaltender in a 32 save effort, as he improves to 3-8-0 on the year.
The Gusties outshot the Johnnies 33-24 in the game, recording shots in the double-digits in all three periods.
SJU leading scorer Joe Harren put Saint John’s on the board first with a goal at the 13:09 mark of the first period. Smyth’s goal came :18 seconds into Gustavus’ second power play opportunity of the period. The Gusties were 1-for-5 with the man advantage on the afternoon, while blanking the Johnnies on two power play attempts.
Grant Elena put Saint John’s up 2-1 at the 9:40 mark of the second period, and Jascha Pettit extended the lead to 3-1 at 18:52 of the third. Despite outshooting the Johnnies 21-13 in the final two frames, the Gusties could not get the puck past Civello to close the gap.
The game was the first of a four-game road-stand for the Gustavus men’s hockey team. The Gusties will be off this weekend before traveling to the Red River Valley to take on Concordia on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5.