Just over a minute into the second overtime, Gustavus freshman forward Zach May picked off a pass in the slot of the Augsburg zone, burying the puck in the top left corner of the net to give the Gustavus men’s hockey team a 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Auggies in the first round of the MIAC Playoffs on Saturday night in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties were able to battle back from a 2-0 deficit after the first period to come away with its second straight overtime win.
The Gusties move on to play #1 seed Hamline on Saturday, Feb. 26 in the semifinal round of the MIAC Playoffs at 2:00 p.m. at the Lee and Rose Warner Coliseum in St. Paul.
“Déjà vu huh?” said Head Coach Brett Petersen in reference to last season’s four-overtime MIAC Semifinal game between the Gusties and Auggies. “I was really pleased with the way we played considering that we are such a young group without a lot of playoff experience.”
Although Gustavus outshot the Auggies 13-to-6 in the opening period, Augsburg took a 2-0 advantage into the first intermission, and John Lennartson opened up the scoring with a power-play goal at 6:22 to put Augsburg up 1-0. Trevor Doden extended the lead to 2-0 with an even strength goal from the mouth of the crease at the 17:37 mark.
After a shaky first period, goaltender Josh Swartout settled in and was able to see the puck much better for the remainder of the contest. “They were getting good traffic at the start, then we had a little meet-and-greet after the first and discussed how we needed to clear guys out in front of the net. After that, I started to see the puck a little better,” said goalie Josh Swartout. Swartout made 25 saves in the game, improving to 8-0-1 in his four-year career against Augsburg.
After 19 minutes of scoreless hockey in the start of the second period, Gustavus’ upper classmen went to work in the final minute. Just :05 seconds into a power play at 19:19, Ryan Johnson was able to re-direct a slap from Mitch Carlson into the back of the net to cut the lead to 2-1. Carlson extended his point-streak to five games with the assist, while Johnson has scored a goal in the last three games.
Gustavus kept the pressure on following the Johnson goal, as Brad Wieck was rewarded with the game-tying score (2-2) after tapping in a one-timer left of the crease off a centering passing from Ring-Jarvi.
“Any time you get a goal in the playoffs it’s pretty exciting,” said Brad Wieck. “Just the way we responded, they got one and we came back with two quick ones – that was huge for us.”
The Gusties carried the momentum into the third period, scoring the go-ahead goal just :53 seconds in. Matt Schugel was to deflect a Zach May pass from the right circle through the five-hole, surprising goaltender Justin Lochner and giving Gustavus a 3-2 edge. The goal was Schugel’s first since scoring against Bethel in late November.
Mario Mjelleli tied the game at 3-3 with Augsburg’s second power-play goal of the game at 3:13 of the period. The Auggies finished the game 2-for-7 on the power play, while Gustavus was 1-for-5.
Gustavus controlled play for much of the first overtime period, outshooting the Auggies 15-5, yet not being able to solve Justin Lochner. Lochner would finish with a total of 55 saves in the contest, earning himself the third star.
Gustavus was rewarded for its aggressive forecheck just 1:07 into the second overtime when Zach May picked off a pass and beat Lochner top shelf for the game-winner. “We were forechecking hard all night and the Augsburg guy ends up throwing a D-to-D pass to me in front of the net,” said May about the goal.
The Gusties outshot Augsburg 59-to-28 in the game. Matt Schugel earned the second star after recording a goal and an assist with a plus/minus of +3 on the afternoon. Ross-Ring Jarvi also was +3, extending his point-streak to three games with the assist on the Wieck goal.
“Its just another classic MIAC Playoff game,” said Petersen. “Every one of our games in the playoffs went into overtime last year, and now this one tonight, so it’s not surprising. There is so much balance in the league, and I think that it will be that way for the rest of the year.”
The Gusties enter tomorrow’s bout with a 1-1 record against Hamline this season, defeating the Pipers 3-1 in St. Paul and falling 3-2 in St. Peter.
“We are going to have to play a really smart game tomorrow, maybe even set a record for icings,” joked Petersen about tomorrow’s game with Hamline. “I think adrenaline will set in for us tomorrow and we will be ready to go.”
The Gustavus vs. Hamline men’s hockey game will be broadcast live through Stretch Internet and the Gustavus Athletics website. Ethan Armstrong will be in the Warner Coliseum for Saturday afternoon’s call. Fans can access the live video through following link – http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/gac.portal
1. Zach May
2. Matt Schugel
3. Justin Lochner