St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team used a fast start to come away with a 3-1 victory over Concordia College on Saturday afternoon at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Thanks to a two-goal first period and strong goaltending from John McLean (So., Eagan, Minn.), the Gusties were able to salvage a split in their first MIAC series of the season.
Gustavus improves to 3-3-0 overall and 1-1-0 in the MIAC with the win, while Concordia drops to 4-2-0 overall and 1-1-0 in the MIAC after the loss.
Cobber goaltender Chris Neamonitis, who made 40 saves and was the difference in Concordia’s 3-1 win on Friday night, was tested early and often this afternoon. The Gusties came out firing on all cylinders and posted 16 shots in the opening frame. Two of those shots hit the back of the net and Gustavus took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Rookie defenseman Jared Docken (Northfield, Minn.) kicked off the game’s scoring with his first goal of the season, which came at the 13:17 mark off an assist from Corey Leivermann (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.).
The Gusties kept the pressure on after Docken’s goal and were rewarded less than three minutes later with a power play opportunity. After going 0-for-4 on the power play in last night’s loss, it took just seven seconds for the Gusties to score on their first chance tonight. Nate Paulsen (Jr., La Habra, Calif.) sent a blast from the point through the slot where Jack Walsh (Jr., Mahtomedi, Minn.) was posted up and ready to re-direct the puck into the net.
Concordia had a chance to claw its way back into the game early in the second period when Zach May (Sr., Prior Lake, Minn.) was charged and disqualified for checking from behind at the 2:35 mark. Gustavus’s penalty killers stepped up to the challenge and negated the five-minute major and then later two other two-minute minors all within the second period.
Concordia finished 0-for-3 on the power play, while Gustavus went 1-for-3.
The Cobbers cut the lead to a goal down 2-1 early in the third period when Adam Wiertzema scored at the 1:16 mark.
Not allowing Concordia to close the gap, Gustavus got the goal back five minutes later. Cory Ellis (Jr., St. Paul, Minn.) picked a opportunistic time to score the first point of his collegiate career with a rebound goal from just outside the crease at the 6:30 mark.
Gustavus’s defense tightened down at that point and John Mclean turned away all remaining Concordia shots. McLean stopped 29-of-30 shots on the day and improved to 3-2-0 with the win. Cobber goaltender Chris Neamonitis suffered the loss in a 30-save effort and is now 4-2-0 on the year.
The final shot tally saw Gustavus with a 33-30 advantage.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will be back on the ice Friday, Sept. 22 when it continues its MIAC schedule with home game against Hamline University at 7:05 p.m.