The Falcon men’s hockey team was defeated by a score of 2-1 by the Gusties of Gustavus Adolphus College in a close, heated NCHA matchup at Hunt Arena on Wednesday night.
The Falcon men entered Wednesday night’s matchup against the Gusties only having lost one game thus far this season, a 5-2 thriller against the Blugolds of UW- Eau Claire on Dec 10. The Falcons responded with an 6-1 rout of their own against Eau Claire the following night.
At goaltender for the Falcons was their typical starting man, Scott Lewan . Lewan has helped lead the Falcons to one of their most successful starts to a season in recent memory, as the Falcons were ranked #4 in the nation according to the latest USCHO.com poll.
Starting in net for the Gusties was John McLean. The young 6’8” freshman goaltender towered over all of the men on the ice as he represented the team that bested an impressive UWRF squad last season. The last time the Falcons faced off against the Gusties was on Nov 6, 2010. The Gusties were victorious by a score of 2-0.
The returning players on the Falcons squad set the pace of the game early, coming off the puck hard from the very first faceoff. The game was characterized by successful defensive stands from both squads.
“The Hunting Grounds” student seating section at Hunt Arena erupted in applause midway through the second period as Lewan flopped around the net making save after save on a 5×3 power play opportunity for the Gusties. Lewan and the Falcon defense denied the Gusties despite dominating the puck during the power play following the slashing and tripping penalties on Blake Huppert and Caleb Wolfgram respectively.
The game remained scoreless until 14:11 in the second period. Netting the first score of the matchup was Adam Smyth, and he was assisted by Andy Pearson and Gustav Bengston. The score was Smyth’s sixth of the season. The goal came on a power play chance following a crucial holding penalty on Jeff Burke .
Gustavus strengthened their lead with just one second remaining the clock in the second period. The puck narrowly squeezed by Lewan in the fray as both teams battled for the puck. The goal came on the stick of Mark Jackson. Zack May and Sam Smith were granted assists.
Willie Hess would score the only Falcon goal of the evening just 13 seconds into play in the third period. Hess nailed the well placed shot on goal against the towering goaltender with assists coming from the Falcon captain, Jason Yuel , as well as Wolfgram. The goal was the freshman Hess’s third of the season.
The Falcons outshot the Gusties 32-29 throughout the matchup.
I’ve always told our players, if we play hard and get a good effort, that’s okay,” said Falcon Coach Steve Freeman in an interview following the game. “Our power play let us down tonight and we took too many penalties. We had some good scoring chances, but we didn’t handle the pressure they put on us.”
Falcon hockey will be taking a brief break for university finals as well as the holiday vacation time granted to students. The Falcons will take the ice once again on January 6th as they look to open up 2012 with a bang against St. John’s University. The game, hosted by the Johnnies, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The Falcons are 19-9-1 all-time against St. John’s.