Mendota Heights, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team used what its best defensive effort of the season to defeat the University of St. Thomas 1-0 on Saturday night at the St. Thomas Ice Arena. For the fifth time in the past seven games, forward Jack Walsh (So., Mahtomedi, Minn.) scored the game-winning goal – this time scoring at the 11:34 mark of second period. With a stifling defense in front of him, goaltender Tyler Venne (Sr., New Hope, Minn.) turned away all 24 of St. Thomas’s shots on goal to earn his third shutout of the season.
Gustavus has won eight straight games and improves to 17-7-3 overall with the win. The surging Gusties are now 10-1-2 since Jan. 1. St. Thomas finishes its season 13-11-2 with the loss.
The Gusties advance to the MIAC Playoff Championship game for the second straight season. Gustavus will travel to St. Cloud, Minn. to take on Saint John’s University in the title game scheduled for Saturday, March 2. Puck drop for Saturday’s championship is set for 2:00 p.m. at the National Hockey Center. Saint John’s punched its ticket to MIAC Championship by way of a 5-1 win over Concordia tonight in St. Cloud. The Gusties and Johnnies skated to back-to-back draws in their regular season series after a 3-3 tie in the National Hockey Center and a 1-1 tie in Don Roberts Ice Rink.
After a scoreless first period during which Gustavus was shut down on its lone power play opportunity, Jack Walsh broke the ice with the eventual game-winner at the 11:34 mark. Moving up the right wing on a 2-on-1 break, Corey Leivermann (Jr., North Mankato, Minn.) patiently waited until the last possible moment before crossing to Walsh who one-timed the pass into the back of the net. Walsh’s MIAC leading seventh game-winning goal was also assisted by Tyler Lapic (So., New Prague, Minn.).
The goal was also the sophomore’s team-leading 13th of the season. After registering a point tonight, both Walsh and Tyler Lapic extend their scoring-streak to eight games. Walsh has 11 points (8G, 3A) and Lapic has scored 10 (3G, 10) within their respective scoring tears.
Still clinging to a one goal lead halfway through the third period, St. Thomas had a golden opportunity to tie the game after back-to-back Gustavus penalties on Blake Schammel (So., Red Wing, Minn.) and Tyler Lapic inside the 10th minute of the frame. The penalty killers were up to the challenge, nullifying St.Thomas’s 5-on-3 opportunity to keep the shutout intact.
With the win between the pipes, Tyler Venne improved to 13-4-3 overall and 10-1-2 since Christmas. Over the Black and Gold’s eight-game run, Venne has allowed an average of 1.5 goals per game.
Venne’s counterpart Drew Fielding had a similar stat line aside from the goal allowed in the second period. Felding recorded 22 saves in the game, finishing his season 10-8-2 overall.