NORTHFIELD, Minn. — If the rest of the MIAC season is anything like this game, its going to be one wild ride.
Last years conference playoff champion Gustavus Adolphus faced off against St. Olaf, last years regular season champion.
The Gusties came out of the gate with all cylinders firing, and controlled play for most of the first two periods.
I was pleased with how we came out said Gustavus coach Brett Petersen. We came out playing hard and moved the puck well.
Despite the Gusties controlling play, the first goal of the game was for the home team: St. Olaf.
The Oles got the puck on net, and Gustavus goaltender Josh Swartout kicked it aside into the slot, setting off a scramble for the puck. In the end Austin Wetmore got his stick on it and was able to put it past Swartout at the 8:20 mark for his first goal of the season.
The lead didnt last long though, as Gustavuss pressure finally paid off 9:44 into the period.
David Martinson had the puck behind the Oles net, who passed it into the slot to Ross Ring-Jarvi, who one-timed it past St. Olafs goaltender Nick Krauss. The first period ended with the score tied 1-1 and the Gusties holding a 14-9 shot advantage.
The first half of the second period again saw Gustavus controlling possession in the St. Olaf zone, but with Krauss turning aside every shot. Halfway through the period the Oles got a great chance of their own as a quick rush up ice ended with Thor Josefson picking up a pass while charging to the net, but Swartout was able to stand his ground and make a great save on the play.
At 13:18 of the second period, Gustavuss pressure again paid off. A flurry in front of Krauss saw the puck trickle out to the right side of the crease, and Brad Wieck was there to shoot it over the goaltender for a 2-1 lead for the Gusties.
The second period would end 2-1, with the Gusties again outshooting the Oles, holding a 26-17 shot advantage going into the final period.
The third period saw the Oles come out fired up, keeping the puck in the Gustavus zone for stretches of time, and doing a good job defensively in their own end.
We made a few changes said coach Sean Goldsworthy. Their forecheck was causing us problems, and we needed to play more of the game in their end of the ice. We came out for the third fired up, and I felt we played hard in the second half of the game.
Despite the increased effort, the score remained 2-1 in favor of the Gusties when the Oles got a power play chance with just over seven minutes to play. The Oles worked the puck around the zone, and finally got a good look from the slot.
The initial shot was blocked, but the follow up shot beat Swartout up high and tied the game at 2-2.
The Gusties struck back quickly though, as again they controlled the puck in the St. Olaf end for an extended time. Finally, Ross Ring-Jarvi brought the puck behind the Oles net, circled in front, and shot it when he saw Krauss hadnt come over to block the near post. The shot beat the Olaf goaltender and gave Gustavus the 3-2 lead with 4:41 remaining.
Even though Gustavus had just retaken the lead, the period had been mainly been dominated by St. Olaf. They held an advantage in shots on goal, had done a good job limiting Gustavuss chances, were working hard, and getting chances of their own.
Their hard work paid off with 2:39 left to play as Isak Tranvik made a great individual play to tie the game. He brought the puck down the right wing, warded off a defender while keeping control of the puck, and brought it to the net. Right after shooting the puck, Tranvik crashed into both the goaltender Swartout and the net, knocking it off its moorings.
However, the puck was in the net as it spun away and the goal light was on.
After a delay while the referees discussed with the goal judge, the referees the puck had gone in before the net came off, and the goal stood.
Neither team generated much pressure in the remainder of the period or in overtime, and the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
Its kind of fitting it ended in a tie said coach Petersen. We controlled play for the first half, and they controlled play in the second half. Every time we play each other it seems the games end with an empty net goal or we end up tied.
Coach Goldsworthy had a similar outlook.
It was a game of two halves. We always seem to play hard against each other, no matter what the records are coming into the game.
It was a great game and a great start to the MIAC season. Several students from Gustavus made the trip for the game, waving flags and chanting after each Gustie goal. The St. Olaf fans also showed up to cheer on the home team, which gave the game a great atmosphere to go along with the great hockey that was played.
These two teams face off again Saturday night, this time at Gustavus. With the MIAC being such a tight league, one or two games can be the difference between making or missing the playoffs, so look for these teams to come out playing hard again.