Northfield, Minn. – Thanks to a fast start that led to a pair of first period goals, the Gustavus men’s hockey team defeated St. Olaf College by the score of 3-1 on Friday night at Northfield Arena. St. Olaf cut the lead in half with a goal halfway through the third period yet could not make up the rest of the deficit.
Gustavus has now won its last four conference games and improves to 4-1-0 in the MIAC and 7-3-1 overall with the win. St. Olaf sees its two-game win-streak come to an end and is now 1-3-1 in the MIAC and 3-7-1 overall.
Despite failing to convert on their last 11 power play opportunities heading into the weekend, the Gusties were able to capitalize on their first man-advantage chance of the evening. Corey Leivermann (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) buried his second power play goal of the season off assists from Andy Pearson (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.) and Nate Paulsen (Jr., La Habra, Calif.) at the 2:30 mark to put Gustavus on top 1-0. With the goal, which was his eighth of the year, Leivermann extended his point-streak to seven games.
Gustavus kept the pressure on following Leivermann’s go-ahead goal. At the 5:49 mark, Gavin Tufte (So., Blaine, Minn.) found the back of the net for the first time this season. Coming from Sam Majka (Fr., Wayzata, Minn.) and Sam Smith (Jr., Vancouver, B.C.), Gufte’s goal turned out to be the game-winner.
Neither team was able to put a goal away in what was a penalty ridden second period. Gustavus killed off back-to-back two-minute minors and a ten-minute game misconduct in the second frame.
St. Olaf was eventually able to take advantage on the power play when Dan Cecka scored at the 9:24 mark of the third period to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Oles were given three more power play chances following Cecka’s goal, but Gustavus’s penalty killers stepped up to the challenge and blanked St. Olaf’s power play on all three tries.
Adam Smyth (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.) sent the puck into an empty net at 19:29 to bring the score to a final at 3-1.
Gustavus finished with 21 shots and was 1-for-6 on the power play. The Oles registered 23 shots and were 1-for-6 on the power play as well. Of St. Olaf’s 23 shots, 16 came while on the man-advantage.
Gustavus goaltender John McLean (So., Eagan, Minn.) earned the 60-minute win to improve to 6-2-1 after stopping 22-of-23 shots. Steve Papciak suffered the loss after allowing two goals and making 18 saves.
The Gusties and Oles will conclude this weekend’s series on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter. The two teams will square off at 7:05 p.m.