Winona, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team took a big step forward in its hunt for a playoff spot with a 4-1 victory over Saint Mary’s on the road Friday night at the SMU Ice Arena. After a scoreless first period, Gustavus scored three unanswered goals (two in the second period and one in the third) to grab a 3-0 lead and control of the game with less than eight minutes to play.
Gustavus moves ahead of Saint Mary’s by a point in the conference standings with the win. The Gusties currently sit in a tie for fourth place alongside Concordia with 14 points, as Saint Mary’s drops to sixth with 13 points. Gustavus is now 12-7-3 overall and 6-5-2 in the MIAC, while Saint Mary’s is 8-13-1 overall and 6-6-1 in the MIAC.
Following an evenly played first period that saw Gustavus with a slight 8-7 shots advantage, the Gusties kicked off the scoring in the heart of the second period with back-to-back goals. At the 7:30 mark of the frame Brenden Baker (Sr., Edina, Minn.) sent a slap shot from the point into the back of the net to give Gustavus a 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute following Baker’s go-ahead goal, Ryan Johnson (Sr., Blaine, Minn.) took advantage of a puck that caromed off the back glass behind the Saint Mary’s net out onto the doorstep of the goal where Johnson was waiting. The senior put the puck past Cardinal goaltender Jason Horstman, giving Gustavus a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
With the goal, which turned out to be the game-winner, Johnson extends his goal-scoring streak to three games. He now has four points over the last three contests.
Gustavus outshot the Cardinals 20-5 in the second period and 11-5 in the third period for a 39-17 edge by the final buzzer. The Gusties also controlled the dots through the majority of the night, going 37-30 record on the draw. Johnson was 12-6, while Brian White (Sr., Fort Frances, Ont.) went 11-5.
At the 12:49 mark of the third period, Jack Walsh (Mahtomedi, Minn.) scored for the second straight game, putting Gustavus up 3-0 and extending his point-streak to three games.
After Saint Mary’s Bob Marx scored on the power play a the 16:56 point of the third, Gustavus’ Corey Leivermann put to rest any comeback thoughts with a goal less than two minutes later at 18:36. Leivermann also extended his point-streak to three games with the goal. He now has four points over the last three games.
A total of nine Gusties hit the scoresheet with at least a point in the series-opening victory tonight. Goaltender Tyler Venne (Sr., New Hope, Minn.) picked up this third straight win after turning away 16-of-17 shots on the evening. His counterpart Jason Horstman suffered the loss after allowing all four goals and making 35 saves.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will go for the sweep tomorrow night in the series-finale set to take place at 7:05 p.m. at Don Roberts Ice Rink.