St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team used a fast start to come away with a 5-2 victory over Hamline University on Friday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink. The first of Darren Lapic’s (So, New Prague, Minn.) two goals came early in the fourth minute and kick-started a Gustavus offense that would go on to score four-unanswered goals before Hamline eventually found the back of the net. Hamline cut the lead to 4-2 late in the third period, but Corey Leivermann (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) put to bed any comeback hopes with a short-handed goal with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Gustavus improves to 4-3-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the MIAC with the victory, while Hamline enters tomorrow night’s series-finale still seeking its first win of the year at 0-6-1 overall and 0-1-0 in the MIAC.
“I was pleased with how we started, especially with so many new guys in the lineup,” said Head Coach Brett Petersen after the game. “I was concerned before the game with how we would start considering this is a completely new lineup with a lot of new guys stepping on the ice for their first conference game. It was a tough week emotionally for us behind the scenes so it was good to see us come out and establish ourselves like we did.”
Gustavus’s game plan heading into the weekend was to get pucks on goal early and to supply Hamline’s rookie goaltender John Sellie-Hanson with plenty of traffic in front of his net. The Gusties executed that game plan right out of the gates as Darren Lapic was able to lift the puck over the left shoulder Sellie-Hanson from a tight angle left of the goal. Lapic’s goal came on the power play at the 3:11 mark and was assisted by Sam Majka (Fr., Wayzata, Minn.).
The Gusties continued to pepper the Hamline goaltender for the remainder of the first period, yet could night find the back of the net. The Gusties outshot Hamline 15-6 in the opening 20 minutes and negated four Piper power play opportunities.
After recording six shots on goal through the opening nine minutes of the second period, Jack Walsh (Jr., Mahtomedi, Minn.) worked the puck off the boards and put it on the stick of Cory Ellis at the top of the left circle. Ellis got off a quick snap-shot that beat Sellie-Hanson blocker side to give Gustavus a 2-0 advantage. The goal was Ellis’s second of the season after he scored the first goal of his career in last Saturday’s win over Concordia.
Less than five minutes later at the 14:28 mark, a Cory Ellis shot deflected into the air in front of the goal where Darren Lapic was converged to put the rebound away through the five hole and extend Gustavus’s lead to 3-0 . Linemates Lapic and Ellis accounted for four of Gustavus’s 11 points on the night with two points each.
“We had great production out of the big boy line of Darren Lapic, Cory Ellis, and Gavin Tufte,” complimented Petersen. “They played a much more significant role tonight than what we’ve asked of them the past weeks. Nothing fancy with those guys – it’s just getting pucks on net and getting big bodies in front of the goal.”
With a three-goal at the start of the final period, Gustavus killed off two early penalties before Adam Smyth (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.) was able to cap the four-goal scoring-spree with one at the 7:41 mark. A rebound from a Joey Olson (Sr., Warroad, Minn.) shot came to Smyth who found himself all alone at the right post where he put the puck into what was a wide open net.
Inside a minute following Smyth’s goal at the 8:24 mark, Hamline was able to beat Gustavus goaltender John McLean (So, Eagan, Minn.) for the first time when Anthony Wolfe scored to cut the lead to 4-1.
Gustavus held on to a three-goal advantage for more than eight minutes until Piper Cody Mason scored to cut the lead to 4-2 at 16:41 of the period. Hamline was given a golden opportunity less than :30 seconds after Mason’s goal when Gustavus was tagged for an interference penalty at 17:09. Less than :20 seconds into Hamline’s power play, Corey Leiverman went on a breakaway with Jack Walsh clearing the way alongside him. Leivermann worked up the left side and tucked a back-hander into the top right corner of the net to bring the score to a final at 5-2 at the 17:39 mark.
With two more points tonight, Leivermann extends his team-leading point total to 10 (5G, 5A) on the year.
“That was a big time short-handed goal,” said Petersen about Leivermann’s game-capping score. “It killed their momentum and provided us with a strong finish. I give Hamline a lot of credit, they kept coming at us and they didn’t give up despite being down early.”
Gustavus allowed no more than six shots in each period to end up with a 42-16 shooting edge. The Gusties finished 1-for-5 on the power play and also turned in their finest penalty kill performance of the year by blanking Hamline on all six of its tries.
Gustavus goaltender John McLean improved to 4-2-0 with the win. McLean was tested just 16 times over the course of the game, recording 14 saves on the way to his second straight win. McLean’s counterpart John Sellie-Hanson drops to 0-2-0 on the year in a 37-save effort.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will cap its series with Hamline tomorrow night in St. Paul. The Gusties and Pipers will square off at 7:05 p.m. at Oscar Johnson Arena.