Mike MacMillan 08 scored the game winning, powerplay goal with just 6:13 left. Ted Bickel 06 earned the assist.
It felt really good because the team had been playing really well, MacMillan said. Also, it was a chance for the seniors to continue their careers.
Gustavus held the lead for most of the game after scoring two goals in the first period. Gusties Jon Keseley scored an unassisted goal 1:36 into the contest and Joe Ulwelling added on with his third goal of the year at the 11:51 mark. The Oles picked up the pace midway through the second period with a powerplay goal by John Paulsen 08, assisted by Pat Gilles 05. St. Olaf dominated the period and outshot Gustavus 15-6. Josh Biser 06 narrowly missed the game-tying goal partway through the period when his shot ricocheted off the pipe. Despite the effort, the Oles ended the period down 2-1.
The Oles outplayed Gustavus in the deciding period as well. Joel Ihrie 06 scored with 7:42 left in the game, exciting the packed arena. Kyle Hilmershausen 07 and Gilles assisted on Ihries rebound goal.
Right before I went out for my shift, Goldy [head coach Sean Goldsworthy] told me I was going to get a goal, so I went out there and did it, Ihrie said.
Tied at two goals apiece, time slowly ticked off the clock and the cheers of encouragement from the assembled Ole faithful grew louder.
With 6:44 remaining in regulation, Gustavus Sam Bickel, younger brother of Ole forward Ted, was called for hooking. Thirty-one seconds later, MacMillan sent the crowd into a frenzy and propelled the Oles into the lead for good.
The now-scrambling Gusties pulled their goalkeeper with 12.4 seconds remaining in an attempt to score off of a face-off deep in St. Olafs defensive zone. The Oles held fast, securing their place in the MIAC semi-finals.
Even though we were down by two at one point we never doubted that we were going to win, Biser said. We pushed ourselves and made it happen.
The Oles will travel to Collegeville, Minn. To take on top-seeded Saint Johns Thursday night at 7 p.m.