When the Gustavus men’s hockey team found itself backed in a corner on two occasions this weekend, sophomore forward Adam Smyth answered the call and provided a spark when it need it most. Smyth finished with three goals against St. Olaf on the weekend, helping the Gusties to earn the No. 2 seed in the MIAC Playoffs. For his outstanding play, Adam Smyth has received the honor of MIAC Men’s Hockey Athlete-of-the-Week.
On Friday night in Northfield, a power play goal at the 5:14 mark of the second period gave the Oles a 2-0 lead. After nearly eight minutes of scoreless hockey in the second, Smyth was able to cut the lead to 2-1 on a Brian White assist at the 13:06 mark. Facing a 2-1 deficit nearing the halfway point of the third period, Smyth struck again with the equalizer (2-2), this time coming from Ross Ring-Jarvi and White.
Thanks to an overtime goal by Dane Erickson with 1:15 remaining in the extra session, the Gusties earned a 3-2 victory in the series opener.
With Saint John’s being off on Saturday night and stuck at 18 points in the conference standings, the Gusties knew that a win or tie at Don Roberts Ice Rink would mean the No. 2 seed in the MIAC Playoffs, while a loss would give them the No. 4 seed and a trip to the dreaded play-in game.
Through two periods, St. Olaf looked like the team with more at stake, making the most of nearly every opportunity in the second frame. The Oles scored three goals on just seven shots, taking a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
With more than half the third period in the books, Gustavus needed a spark. For the second night in a row, Adam Smyth provided that spark. The Burnsville, Minn. native sent a rebound slap-shot into the back of the net at the 10:30 mark, igniting a three-goal comeback that would allow Gustavus a 3-3 tie and a second place finish in the conference.
Smyth’s success this weekend stems from an increase in production since the start of February. The sophomore has tallied five goals and one assist in the last five games, averaging six shots per game within that time. He currently leads the team and ranks fourth in the MIAC with 13 goals this season.
It is the second time this season that Smyth has been named MIAC Player-of-the-Week. He also took home the honor on Dec. 12, 2011 after becoming the first Gusties to score four goals in a game in over two years in a 5-3 win over Lawrence.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will be back on the ice Saturday, Feb. 25 when it takes on Saint John’s in the semifinals of the MIAC Playoffs at 7:30 p.m. in St. Peter, Minn.