Majka Scores Twice, Power Play Comes Alive In Men’s Hockey’s 3-1 Win Over St. Thomas

Posted on February 14th, 2015 by

Sam Majka's two-goal night propelled the Gustavus men's hockey team to a 3-1 victory over St. Thomas on Saturday night in Mendota Heights.

Sam Majka’s two-goal night propelled the Gustavus men’s hockey team to a 3-1 victory over St. Thomas on Saturday night in Mendota Heights.

St. Peter, Minn. – Cue the Bee Gees because the Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team is stayin’ alive.

When the weekend began, Gustavus sat in a tie for seventh place in the conference standings alongside St. Olaf with 16 points. The Gusties needed points and a loss would more than likely knock them out of playoff contention. Their opponent; St. Thomas. The Tommies began the weekend ranked 15th in the country, alone atop the conference standings with 27 points, and with only one blemish on their record since the holiday break.

Enter Sam Majka.

In Friday night’s series-opener at Don Robert Ice Rink, 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime couldn’t produce a winner and a shootout was needed to determine the extra point. Sophomore Sam Majka (Wayzata, Minn.) provided that critical point in the sixth round with a backhander he put past netminder Drew Fielding.

On to Saturday night’s finale in the St. Thomas Ice Arena where the Tommies carried a record of 10-0-2 heading into the evening. Because Friday night’s results around he MIAC yielded nothing in terms of solidified playoff positions, the Gusties still had their backs against the wall in a do-or-die scenario.

It took the left-hander all of his rookie campaign and half of his sophomore season to find the back of the net.  On Saturday night, Sam went into the goal-scoring business and generated more than double his previous revenue.  Thanks to a two-goal game by Majka, the team’s best power play performance of the season, and a 36-save effort by goaltender John McLean (So., Eagan, Minn.), Gustavus’s playoff hopes are still alive after taking five of the possible six points from the Tommies.

With the win, Gustavus improves to 7-8-8 overall and 4-4-6 in the MIAC. Heading into its season-ending series against Bethel next weekend, Gustavus sits in a tie for sixth place alongside Augsburg in the league standings.  St. Thomas finds itself tied for the top spot in the league along with Concordia at 28 points. The Tommies are now 13-8-4 overall and 8-5-3 in the MIAC.

Enter the Gustavus power play.

Gustavus was given four power play opportunities over the course of the game. It capitalized on three them for the program’s best power play game since a 3-for-4 night against Lawrence on Dec. 7, 2012. To put the cherry on top of an already stellar special teams night, Gustavus shut down all three of St. Thomas’s power play chances.  The Gusties have now negated eight straight penalties and rank second in the country on the penalty kill at 91.2-percent.

John McLean picked up his first career win over St. Thomas thanks to a 36-save outing.

John McLean picked up his first career win over St. Thomas thanks to a 36-save outing.

Drawing blood on the man-advantage first was Sam Majka at the 11:02 mark of the first period, beating Fielding on assists from Conor Deal (Fr., Anchorage, Alaska) and Jake Bushey (Fr., Duluth, Minn.).

After St. Thomas’s Charlie Donline tied the game at 1-1 with a goal at 17:23 of the first, Majka, Bushey, and Deal went back to work on the power play halfway through the second. Majka netted the eventual game-winner (the first of his career) at the 10:10 mark thanks to dimes coming from the same rookie duo that assisted him earlier in the game.

Jared Docken (So., Northfield, Minn.) brought the night’s scoring to a close later in the frame (18:47) when he netted the team’s final power play tally off assists from Blake Schammel (Sr., Red Wing, Minn.) and Tyler Lapic (Sr., New Prague, Minn.).

Enter John Mclean.

Heading into the weekend, John McLean and was 0-5-0 against the Tommies in his collegiate career. The junior gave up what he considered a soft goal on Friday night but stopped 30-of-31 shots, which included a 5-for-6 effort in the shootout. McLean was on his game early tonight, making 12 saves in the first and 16 more in the second to allow the Gusties a 3-1 edge heading into the final 20 minutes. He capped the game with eight saves in the third to finish with 36 on the night. It was his second-best save total of the season, ranking second behind a 39-save night in an overtime shutout draw against St. Scholastica on Jan. 10.

Enter reality.

Despite short-live elation on the bus ride back to St. Peter, reality will settle in when the ice is cleared and the Gustavus men’s hockey team gets back to work on Monday. The scenario the Gusties face is no different than the one they faced this past weekend. A loss, or even a tie, would eliminate the Gusties from playoff contention.  It will be do-or-die time once again for the Black and Gold.

The drama will unfold beginning on Friday, Feb. 20 with a 7:00 p.m. game against Bethel at the Schwan Super Rink. The two teams will then cap the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 21 with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Saturday night’s game is designated as Senior Night.

Enter box score.

 


One Comment

  1. Tom Brower says:

    Great effort guys, all the best this next weekend !