The rookies put the puck in, and a senior kept the puck out, as the Gustavus men’s hockey team defeated 13th-ranked Hamline 3-1 on Friday night in the Warner Coliseum in St. Paul. Gustavus freshmen Shael Hechter, Gustav Bengtson, and Zach May each scored a goal a goal, while Goaltender Josh Swartout was a wall in one of his best performances of the season. He turned away 33 Piper shots and came up with a huge save on a penalty shot in the third period to keep the Gusties on top 2-1.
Gustavus picks up two points with the victory and improves to 13-7-2 overall and 7-4-2 in the MIAC. The Gusties are currently tied for second place in the MIAC with 16 points alongside Concordia. Hamline falls to 12-5-5 and 7-2-4 in the MIAC with the loss. The Pipers enter tomorrow’s contest in a tie for first place with St. Thomas (18 pts), following a 2-1 Tommie victory over St. Olaf.
Both squads were able to generate good looks at the goal in an evenly played, physical first period. The Gusties put goaltender Beau Christian on his heels after firing 12 shots in the first period. Ross Ring-Jarvi came an inch away from scoring the opening goal halfway through the period when his snap-shot from the top of the left circle hit the inside of the right pipe and deflected behind Christian safely to the left corner.
Gustavus got on the board first with a power play goal by Shael Hechter just :40 seconds into the second period. Hechter sent Christian’s water bottle flying through the air when he buried a one-timer in the top corner of the net from the right circle off a Mitch Carlson pass from center ice. Hechter’s goal, his fifth of the season, ended an 11-game streak in which Hamline had scored the opening goal of the game. Gustavus is now 11-2-1 when it scores the first goal this season.
Gustav Bengtson put Gustavus up 2-0 with the game-winning goal at the 9:50 mark of the second. After a scramble in the right corner of the Hamline zone, the puck came loose into the slot where Bengtson was in the right place at the right time, knocking the puck into the open net.
The Gustavus penalty kill was 3-for-3 in the second period, allowing just one shot Hamline power play shot.
The Pipers cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal of their own at the 8:30 mark of the third period when Alex Lundbohm was able to sneak a tight-angled wrister past Swartout from the bottom of the left circle. Following a delay of game penalty for covering the puck in the crease, Jordan Van Gilder was awarded a penalty shot and a chance to tie the game at the 10:45 mark. Swartout was up to the challenge, turning away the in-close back-hand with his right leg pad to keep the Gusties on top. Head Coach Brett Petersen thought that Swartout’s save on the penalty shot was a key momentum swing in the game.
Zach May put Gustavus back up two goals (3-1) at the 12:04 mark. After carrying the puck into the Hamline zone, May left a no-look pass off for Ring-Jarvi at the left circle. Ring-Jarvi skated the puck further down the zone before centering back to May who netted the one-timer from the right slot.
Gustavus finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play, while Hamline went 1-for-5. After outshooting the Pipers in the first period, Hamline recorded 24 combined shots in the second and third periods to match Gustavus at 33 in the game.
Ryan Johnson notched two assists in the game. He has scored four points in the last three games and is now on a three-game point streak. Bengtson’s goal, his seventh of the season, is his first since a 3-1 win over Finlandia on Dec. 11, 2010. The Gusties are 6-0-1 when Bengtson scores a goal this season.
Beau Christian suffered the loss in nets in a 30-save effort. He falls to 10-3-3 on the season. Swartout improves to 9-6-2 with the victory, recording his second-highest save total of the season.
The Gusties will go for the weekend sweep on Saturday night in St. Peter, as they return home to the confines of Don Roberts Ice Rink for the first time in four-games. Puck-drop for game two is set for 7:05 p.m. tomorrow night.