St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Concordia College in its MIAC opener on Friday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Cobber goaltender Chris Neamonitis was a wall from start to finish, turning away 40 of Gustavus’s 41 shots to lead Concordia to the two-goal victory. Gustavus drops to 2-3-0 overall and 0-1-0 in the MIAC, while Concordia improves to 4-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 in the MIAC.
Despite outshooting the Cobbers 11-5 in the first period, Concordia took a 1-0 lead into the intermission thanks to a goal by Garrett Hendrickson. Hendrickson was able to put away a rebound in front of the net at the 14:48 mark to give Concordia its first goal of the conference season.
The second period in no way resembled the first. After an opening frame that saw both teams keep the opposing offense in check, the scoring chances opened up on both ends of the ice in the second period. Gustavus registered 16 shots to Concordia’s 15 for a total of 31 in the period alone. Only one goal was scored in the shooting-spree, however, with Concordia’s Jeremy Johnson taking advantage of a Gustavus turnover in its defensive end and putting the puck past John McLean (So., Eagan, Minn.) at the 17:41 mark.
Gustavus would not go away quietly and swung the momentum in its favor with a goal early the third period. Corey Leivermann (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) took a pass from Sam Smith (Jr., Vancouver, B.C.) moving up the right side boards, beat one defender at the blue line, toe-dragged around another at the right circle, and then snapped a wrister into the top left corner of the net.
The goal was Leivermann’s team-leading fourth of the season and it cut the lead to 2-1.
The Gusties had several chances following Leivermann’s goal, yet couldn’t find a way to beat Neamonitis. The Cobbers netted the back-breaker at the tail end of their first power play opportunity inside the 13th minute. With time ticking down on Concordia’s man-advantage, Caleb Suderman sent a slap shot from the just inside the blue line at center ice though traffic and cleanly past McLean.
The Cobber defense locked down at that point, and Gustavus couldn’t find a way to claw back. Concordia’s penalty kill did the job by holding Gustavus to an 0-for-4 showing. Of Gustavus’s 41 shots in the game, 10 came while on the power paly. Concordia’s one and only power play resulted in Suderman’s goal.
John McLean suffered the loss in a 20-save effort. He will head into tomorrow afternoon’s game at 2-2-0 overall.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will look to rebound tomorrow afternoon with the series finale against Concordia at 2:00 p.m. in Don Roberts Ice Rink.