Men’s Hockey Begins 2015 With 3-2 Loss To Williams Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by

Conor Deal tangles with Colby Cretella in the faceoff circle on Friday night. Williams rallied with two unanswered goals to defeat the Gusties 3-2.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s hockey team began 2015 with 3-2 loss to Williams College on Friday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink. With the scored tied at 2-2 heading into the third period, Williams’s lethal power play turned out to be the difference as George Hunkele scored the game-winning goal on the man-advantage at the 7:39 mark. Gustavus drops to 3-5-5 overall with the loss, while the Ephs improve to 6-2-1.

“Williams is a top 15 team and we knew that going into tonight’s game,” said senior forward Blake Schammel. “Coach got us pumped up for this game and we were excited to get back on the ice after the holiday break. The result wasn’t what we were looking for, but I thought it was a good test and a good game to get our legs back to start the second half of the season.”

Following ten minutes of scoreless hockey to start the game, goals came in bunches within a three-minute time-span during the heart of the opening period. Williams kicked off the scoring at the 10:10 mark when Tyler Young scored his first of two goals on a breakaway following a two-line pass from Greg Johnson.  Young’s second game came at the 7:54 mark of the second period and tied the game at 2-2.

Just :24 seconds after Young’s go-ahead goal, Blake Schammel (Sr., Red Wing, Minn.) answered with the equalizer from Conor Deal (Fr., Anchorage, Alaska) and Tim Donohue (Fr., Bloomington, Minn.). The goal was Schammel’s team-leading fifth of the season.

“We jumped on the ice and said that we needed to get a goal right away,” said Schammel. “It was a good full line goal. Paulsen made the pass to Donohue, Donohue got it to Deal up the middle, and Deal made a great pass to me in front of their defense. I was able beat him wide and get the puck past him short side.”

Less than two minutes after Schammel’s goal, Conor Deal got one of his own when he was able to jam the puck through the five hole of Williams goaltender Sean Dougherty at the 13:09 mark, putting the Black and Gold on top 2-1.

“That was actually our next shift so we were pumped up and thinking that we were going to be scoring goals all night,” laughed Schammel about Deal’s go-ahead tally.  “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get any more past them the rest of the night.”

Despite shutting down one of the top power play teams in the country on two opportunities in the second period – the second of which was a 5-on-3 advantage because Tyler Lapic (Sr., New Prague, Minn.) and Darren Lapic (Jr., New Prague, Minn.) were both sent to the penalty box for cross-checking and roughing, respectively – the Ephs capitalized on their third chance. George Hunkele scored the game-winner on the power play from Sam Gray and Luke Stickel at the 7:39 mark of the third period. Gustavus pulled its goalie at with 1:05 remaining and had a pair of good looks, yet couldn’t find a way to beat Dougherty who picked up the win in a 25-save effort.

“We had a great 5-on-3 kill that gave us some momentum heading into the third period,” Schammel said. “We gave them one more chance and they got a stick on a shot in the slot that barely slipped past John.”

In his first start of the season, John McLean (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) was blistered with 15 shots in the first period. He made the save on 14 of those shots and finished with 23 on the night.

The Gusties finished with a 27-to-26 shots advantage, yet went 0-of-2 on the power play with just two shots. Williams went 1-for-3 on the man-advantage with one of its three shots on goal finding the back of the net.

Schammel said that although there were sloppy segments of tonight’s game that it was a solid effort from start to finish. “I thought we put three full periods together tonight, which is something we struggled to do during the first half of the year.”

The Gustavus men’s hockey team will be back in action next weekend with a pair of non-conference games at Don Roberts Ice Rink. The Gusties will face Finlandia Unviersity on Friday, Jan. 9 at 8:05 p.m. and the College of St. Scholastica on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 7:05 p.m.

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