Blaine, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s hockey team suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Bethel University in its MIAC-opener on Friday night inside the National Sports Center. Despite a strong third period surge that saw the Gusties cut the Bethel lead to 3-2, the comeback fell short, and the Black and Gold suffered a second straight Friday night loss.
The Gusties drop to 3-2-o overall and 0-1-0 in the MIAC, while the Royals improve to 2-3-0 overall and 1-0-0 in the MIAC.
After a strong first period in which the Royals outshot the Gusties 10-to-5, Bethel took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a power play goal by Dan Rowland with 11 minutes remaining in the period.
After killing a Gustavus power play to start the second period, Bethel grabbed a 2-0 lead after scoring on its next opportunity on the power play. Jack Paul scored the goal with 14:24 left to play in the second.
The Royals continued to pour it on at the start of the third period when Brock Raffaele buried the eventual game-winner just five minutes into the frame. The Royals finished the period with a 17-to-9 shots advantage.
Three minutes following Raffaele’s goal, Gustavus got a spark from Schyler Adams (So., New Prague, Minn.), who cut the lead to 3-1 with just under 13 minutes left on the clock. Carrying the puck up the left wing on a 2-on-1 break, Adams turned his hips as if to center before ripping a forehand past Bethel goaltender Dan Harper. The goal was Adams’ first of the season.
With 7:34 left in regulation, Gustavus took advantage its second power play chance of the night. Jack Walsh (So., Mahtomedi, Minn.) cut the lead to 3-2 after scoring his second goal of the year on assists from Ryan Johnson (Sr., Blaine, Minn.) and Brian White (Sr., Fort Frances, Ont.).
The Walsh goal would be as close as the Gusties would come after Bethel netminder Harper slammed the door on any comeback hopes by turning away the rest of Gustavus’ shots throughout the remaining minutes. Harper picks up the win to improves to 2-1-0 after making 23 saves.
John McLean (So., Eagan, Minn.) suffered his second straight loss in nets, allowing three goals and making 33 saves – 16 of which came in the third period. McLean is now 1-2-0 on the season.
Bethel went 2-for-5 on the man-advantage, while Gustavus finished 1-for-2.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will look for a rebound tomorrow night in the series finale set to take place at Don Roberts Ice Rink at 7:05 p.m.