Minneapolis – After an 0-4-0 start in MIAC play, the Gustavus men’s hockey team was in desperate need of points heading into Friday night’s series-opener against Augsburg College. For the Gusties, the night could not have been scripted any better – get out to a fast start, pressure through the middle stages, and finish strong with tough goaltending. Using a three goal first period and a shutout performance from its goalie, Gustavus picked up its first conference win of the season at Ed Saugestad Rink by way of a 5-0 victory over the Auggies.
Gustavus improves to 5-5-1 overall and 1-4-0 in the MIAC with the win, while Augsburg is now 2-6-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the MIAC.
Senior goaltender Tyler Venne (New Hope, Minn.) got the nod in net for the second consecutive Friday. Venne proved to be unsolvable throughout the entire 60-minute contest, earning his first shutout win of the season after stopping all of Augsburg’s 30 shots on the evening. Venne gets back to .500 with the win and is now 2-2-1 on the year.
The Gusties looked like a different team in the opening period of the game, scoring three goals within the frame to go up 3-0 by the first intermission.
Darren Lapic (New Prague, Minn.) opened up the scoring at the 4:54 mark of the period when he knocked in an assist combination from Ryan Johnson (Blaine, Minn.) and Andrew Peterson (Revo, Nev.). The goal was Darren’s first in a Gustavus sweater.
Less than two minutes following the initial goal of the game, Tyler Lapic (New Prague, Minn.) extended the Gustavus lead to 2-0 at the 6:01 mark on assists from Darren Lapic and Johnson. It was the first time this season that the Lapic brothers completed the New Prague connection by assisting one another on a goal. Tyler has now scored a goal in three straight games and is currently riding a four-game point-streak into tomorrow night.
After assisting on the first two goals of the game, Ryan Johnson figured that it was his turn to get in on the goal-scoring action. With just :16 seconds left in the first, Johnson pushed the lead to 3-0 with a goal, his team-best fifth of the season, off a feed from Alex Gallen (Hingham, Mass.).
Gallen has three assists over the past two games, while Johnson has been on a scoring tear as of late. With tonight’s three point performance, Johnson extended his point-scoring streak to four games. He has two multiple-point games in a row and has seven total points within the streak.
The Gusties weren’t complacent and didn’t settle in the second period, scoring their fourth goal at the 3:45 mark of the period to go up 4-0. Ilya Kravtchouk (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) scored his first goal of the season off an assist from his defensive partner Brenden Baker (Edina, Minn.).
Dane Erickson (Woodbury, Minn.) followed suit with Kravtchouk and got off the snide with his first goal of the season, scoring at the 10:21 mark of the third period. Erickson, whose goal was unassisted, brought the night’s scoring to a close and the game to a final at 5-0.
Augsburg’s Justin Lockner suffered the loss in goal after allowing three first period goals and making . He was pulled following the first and was replaced by John Bretzman. Bretzman played the remainder of the game and allowed two goals with 18 saves.
In a credit to both squads’ penalty killers, neither team could convert on the power play. Augsburg went 0-for-6 with eight power play shots, and Gustavus went 0-for-3 with seven shots. The final shot total saw Gustavus with a slight 31-30 advantage.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will look to stay on the winning track and earn its first series sweep of the season on Saturday in the series-finale against the Auggies in St. Peter at 7:05 p.m.