The Gustavus men’s hockey team got into a back-and-forth affair against St. Thomas on Friday night in Mendota Heights, Minn. The Tommies one-upped the Gusties in the end, scoring the game-winning goal on the power play just :31 seconds into overtime to earn a 4-3 victory in the series-opener.
The Gusties fall to 2-3-2 overall and 1-2-0 in the MIAC with the loss, while St. Thomas improves to 4-1-1 overall and 3-0-0 in the MIAC with the victory. Gustavus is now 1-3-0 on the season in games decided by one goal.
“We started off really great and scored early with two goals. A credit to them for bouncing back with two more to tie it up,” said Head Coach Brett Petersen recapping the game from start to finish. “As the game wore on, the more tired we got and the less scoring chances we generated. We took a penalty late in the game and they capitalized.”
A total of four goals were scored in the opening period of play. Gustavus took a 2-0 lead by the halfway point and St. Thomas responded with to more to tie it at 2-2.
Mark Jackson gave the Gusties a 1-0 lead at the 2:31 mark with a goal off a Brian White assist. Ryan Johnson made it 2-0 with a power play goal at 9:48 on assists coming from Ross Ring-Jarvi and White. Gustavus would go 1-for-4 on the man-advantage in the game.
The Tommies came storming back with back-to-back scores within two minutes of each other, starting first with a Tom O’Donnell goal at 15:15 and finishing with a Robby Phillipp power play goal to knot the game at 2-2 in the 17th minute.
The Gusties took back the lead (3-2) at the 9:18 point of the second period when Ryan Johnson buried his second goal of the game off a Gustav Bengtson dime.
Once again, St. Thomas responded with the game-tying goal by scoring 15th minute of the period when Robbie Vannelli hit the back of the net to even the game up at 3-3.
After a scoreless third period, the Tommies were able to capitalize on a power play opportunity inside the first minute of the extra session. Michael Krieg scored the game-winner in to give St. Thomas the win two points. St. Thomas finished 2-for-4 with nine shots on the power play.
Gustavus goaltender Tyler Venne suffered his first loss of the season and is now 1-1-2 on the year. Venne made a total of 32 saves in a complete-game.
Tyrone Simcoe picked up the win in nets for St. Thomas. He tallied 33 saves and went the distance as well.
The final shot count ended at an even 36-to-36. The first shot fired in overtime turned out to be the difference in the end.
“We had chances and they had chances, but I thought both goalies played well and overall it was a pretty even game,” commented Petersen. “I’m disappointed with the end result but I’m pleased with how we played on the road tonight compared to our game last Saturday at Bethel. “
Gustavus will re-group and gear up for the series-finale set for Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Tomorrow’s game is Gustavus’ second of just three home contests of the 2011 calendar year, which is something Coach Petersen wants to take advantage of heading into tomorrow night.
“St. Thomas defended its turf and now it is our turn to defend ours. We have had some really good series with the Tommies over the years and tomorrow night should be another tight game between two of the storied programs in the MIAC,” concluded Petersen.