St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team saw its eight-game unbeaten-streak come to an end on Saturday night with a 2-0 loss at the hands of No. 1-ranked Adrian College at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Adrian’s Scott Shackell became the first goaltender to blank the Gusties this season, stopping all 33 shots he faced on the way to the shutout.
Following the loss, Gustavus will head back into conference play next weekend with an overall record of 7-3-3. The Bulldogs remain unbeaten and improve to 13-0-2 with the victory.
“Especially after this weekend, we are a little frustrated because we know we have the skill to get the job done and win these big games,” said senior defenseman Alex Gallen. “It was good to come off the break and get the rust off our skates with two non-conference games, but we know that it is the conference matchups that matter and we’re looking forward to taking on Augsburg next weekend.”
It was a hard-hitting game with a blistering pace from the start. Despite stretches of back-and-forth hockey that yielded numerous scoring chances, neither team could find the back of the net in the opening period. Thanks to stellar penalty killing by the Gusties, Adrian wasn’t able to convert on its two power play tries in the frame. Gustavus’s one power play chance was negated after the Bulldog penalty kill held the Gusties to just one shot.
After being stopped on their third power play opportunity, Adrian took advantage on its fourth. Josh Cousineau skated in from below the right circle and beat Gustie netminder John McLean (So., Eagan, Minn.) five-hole to put the Bulldogs up 1-0 with 14:45 remaining in the second period.
Gustavus failed to convert on any of its three power play chances in the second period, and Adrian took a 1-0 lead into the third.
The Gusties nearly doubled Adrian’s shot total in the final 20 minutes at 16-to-9, yet it was the visiting club extending its lead to 2-0 with an early goal at the 3:41 mark. After Justin Basso was poke-checked off possession on a rush up the slot, Kevin Balas gathered the loose puck at the right circle and put a wrister cleanly into the back of the net.
Adrian’s Ryan Gieseler was called for roughing later at the 18:19 mark, but Gustavus couldn’t capitalize on the man-advantage inside the final two minutes and the Bulldogs held on for the two-goal win.
John McLean suffered the loss and drops to 6-3-3 overall after turning away 27 shots. Scott Shackell made 33 saves, 16 of which came in the third period, and is now 5-0-0 with the win.
The Gusties finished with a shot advantage of 33-to-29, yet was shut out on all six of their power play opportunities. Adam Smyth (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.) led the team in shots with eight, while Corey Leivermann (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) recorded five. Adrian finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play.
The Gustavus men’s hockey team will now gear up for a return to conference play. The Gusties will kick off the second half of their league schedule against Augsburg College on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7:05 p.m. in St. Peter.