St. Peter, Minn. – As if coming back from down two goals to win 3-2 in overtime on Friday night wasn’t enough, the Gustavus men’s hockey team had to up the ante on Saturday night in Don Roberts Ice Rink. The Gusties scored three unanswered goals inside the third period to skate away with a 3-3 tie against St. Olaf. With the tie, Gustavus earns three points on the weekend and secures the No. 2 seed in the MIAC Playoffs. The Gusties will play host to Saint John’s in the MIAC Playoff Semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Don Roberts Ice Rink.
Gustavus caps the regular season with an overall record of 14-6-5 and an MIAC mark of 8-5-3, while St. Olaf is locked as the No. 4 seed at 11-8-6 overall and 7-6-3 in the MIAC.
Also reminiscent of Friday night’s game, both teams headed to the locker rooms with the score tied 0-0 after a scoreless opening period. The Gusties outshot the Oles 12-to-10 in the opening frame.
St. Olaf was the first to break the ice once again, scoring the opening goal of the contest when Nick Nicoll found the back of the net off a Jeff Warren assist. The Oles grabbed a 2-0 lead ten minutes later when Britton Smith converted on an odd-man rush at the 14:17 mark. Peter Rohn brought the second period scoring onslaught to a close by adding a power play goal less than a minute after Smith’s tally. Just :12 seconds ticked off the power play before Rohn was able to re-direct a shot into the back of the net at the 15:10 mark, putting St. Olaf on top 3-0.
Despite only registering seven shots in the second period, St. Olaf found a way to convert on three of them. The Gusties peppered St. Olaf netminder Ben Leis with 16 shots in the frame but couldn’t find a way to get one past the senior.
Déjà vu of last night’s game came around again in the third period when Adam Smyth snapped Gustavus’ scoring drought with a goal halfway through the third period. After Ross Ring-Jarvi crashed the net up the left side, getting the puck on Leis with a few short-range shots, Smyth found the loose puck come into his possession at the right slot. Smyth one-timed a shot into the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-1 at the 10:30 mark..
Adam Smyth is now on a two-game goal-streak and has scored five goals in the last five games. His 13 goals on the season ranks first on the team and fourth in the MIAC.
Following a cross checking penalty assessed to St. Olaf’s Justin Thomas three minutes after the Smyth goal, it was Gustavus’ turn to capitalize on the power play. After a crisp series of passes around the perimeter of the power play umbrella, Ryan Johnson got the puck to Ring-Jarvi who was all alone with a clear look at the goal in the high slot – never a place you want to see Ringo alone with the puck if you’re the visiting team. The senior snapped a quick wrister into the top right corner and it was a 3-2 game with six minutes left to play.
Ring-Jarvi’s power play goal is his third of the season and first since Jan. 6 St. Scholastica. Ross is currently in the midst of a five-game point-streak, tallying two goals and seven assists within that time-frame. He now ranks second in the MIAC in scoring with 28 points (10G, 18A) on the year.
Still facing the prospect of the MIAC Playoff play-in game down 3-2 with less than five minutes to go, Gustavus found a way to complete the three-goal comeback. A centering pass by Gustav Bengtson from behind the goal found its way through traffic in front of the crease and onto the lap of Nate Paulsen. Just like Smyth minutes earlier, Paulsen sent a slap shot past the St. Olaf goaltender, tying the game at 3-3 with 2:42 left in regulation.
Gustavus went on to outshoot the Oles 12-8 in the third period and 4-1 in overtime. The final shot tally showed Gustavus with the advantage 44-26. St. Olaf converted on its only power play try of the game, while Gustavus went 1-for-3.
After giving up the third goal in the second period, Gustavus goalie John McLean stopped all 11 of St. Olaf’s shots over the remainder of the contest. McLean finished with 23 saves on the night, moving to 12-4-2 on the season with the tie. After making a total of 41 saves in the tie, St. Olaf’s Leis goes to 8-7-5 on the year.