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ISSUE 118 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 3/4/2005

Third time is charm for Oles: MacMillan’s game-winner late in final period secures playoff victory

By Sarah Cornell
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 4, 2005

The St.Olaf College men’s hockey team advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC tournament with a 3-2 win over Gustavus Adolphus College Tuesday night at Northfield Ice Arena in front of 565 diehard hockey fans.

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 Ihrie’s 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. Olaf’s 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 John’s Thursday night at 7 p.m.

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