Deal’s Overtime Game-Winner Lifts Men’s Hockey Past Saint Mary’s’ 2-1

Posted on January 25th, 2015 by

Conor Deal pumps up the crowd following his overtime game-winner on Saturday night against Saint Mary's.

St. Peter, Minn. – Facing a possible sweep in its home rink for the second straight weekend, the Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team was able to dig deep and find a way to salvage a split in dramatic fashion on Saturday night at Don Roberts Ice Rink. With the clock winding down in overtime, the Gusties won an offensive zone faceoff and eventually got the puck through traffic and onto the Saint Mary’s net. With :09 seconds remaining, rookie Conor Deal (Anchorage, Alaska) was able to find the puck amongst a mass of bodies off a rebound and muscle it into the goal for the overtime game winner.

“I really didn’t see how it went in,” admitted Deal, “but I know Tyler shot it, the puck then hit off Sham’s [Blake Schammel] chest, and it was laying on the goal line for me. I was just there to bang it home.”

With the win, Gustavus earns three points in the conference standings and is now 6-7-6 overall and 3-3-4 in the MIAC. Saint Mary’s sees its five-game winning-streak come to an end, dropping to 8-7-2 overall and 3-3-2 in the MIAC.

The goal by Deal was his team-leading ninth of the season, third game-winner, and first game-winner in overtime.

Just when it looked as if the teams would be heading for their respective locker rooms following a scoreless first period, the Cardinals took advantage of a breakaway try with less than one minute remaining in the frame. Nick Albergo went in alone on Gustavus goaltender John McLean (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) and tucked the puck into the top right corner at the 19:25 mark to kick off the night’s scoring. From that point on, McLean made 16 straight saves to keep Gustavus in the game.

Jack Walsh got back into the scoring mix halfway through the second period with his second goal of season, which tied the game at 1-1.

Jack Walsh got back into the scoring mix halfway through the second period with his second goal of season, which tied the game at 1-1. Photo courtesy of C.J. Siewert – Sport PiX.

“Unfortunately we just got a bad break on their first goal,” said senior captain Jack Walsh. “Our guy snaps his stick and they get a break out of it, but that’s just hockey and you get bad bounces every once in a while. You have to have short term memory to bounce back from it and that’s what we did.”

After not being able to beat Cardinal netminder Phil Heinle for more than 80 consecutive minutes over the weekend, Jack Walsh (Sr., Mahtomedi, Minn.) found a unique way to do so at the 8:07 mark of the second period.

“Cory shot it and I picked up the puck behind the net,” said Walsh about the goal. “I just went with the Leivermann bad angle and threw it off the goalie’s skate and it went in.”

The goal was Walsh’s second of the season and first since Nov. 30 against Marian.

With a shot count that favored Gustavus 19-7 in the second and 13-6 in the third, neither team was able score in the regulation minutes following Walsh’s goal. Leading up to Deal’s game-ending goal, the Gusties were outshooting Saint Mary’s 5-1 in the overtime session.

Earning the win following a complete game’s work was John McLean. McLean improves to .500 at 3-3-1 after making 26 saves. His counterpart, Phil Heinle, suffered the loss after stopping 43-of-45 shots throughout the night.

The Gusties had the upper hand in the final shot count at 45-27.  Both teams were unable to capitalize on their one power play chance.

“We need to approach every game with the same intensity we would a playoff game,” concluded Walsh. “The race is so close that nobody knows what is going to happen on any given weekend – win or lose. We need to take the rest of the season one night at a time with the mindset that each game has a potential playoff spot on the line.”

The Gustavus men’s hockey team will be back in action next weekend when it takes on Saint John’s University in a home-and-home series. The Gusties will travel to the National Hockey Center on Friday, Jan. 30 for a 7:00 p.m. game. They will then conclude the weekend at Don Roberts Ice Rink on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7:05 p.m.

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