Last season, the Gusties finished second in the MIAC after a three-year playoff drought.
The team also closed out with four of their players receiving awards, with Senior Chris Amsden taking All-Conference, and the Sophomore trio of Robbie Goor, Will LeNeave, and Caleb Anderson were named to the All-Rookie team for the 17-18 season.
Also, for the third season of his career, Coach Brett Petersen earned Coach of the Year honors.
With the loss of seven seniors last year, the team is excited to continue the bond with returning players as well as integrate talent from their new ten player rookie lineup.
“I’m excited to have so many returners to continue where we left off from last year,” Anderson said. “I’m really optimistic about our team this year and think we’ll see something truly special with the amount of time and work put in this season.”
The Gusties traveled in their preseason to Blaine to play in the MIAC showcase and coming home with a 3-1 win against St. Mary’s and a 0-3 loss against the Concordia Cobbers.
The team began their regular MIAC season in the Don Roberts Ice Rink against St. Olaf. Senior Evan Erickson netted the first Gustie goal of the season at 16:09 from a beautiful crossing pass from Senior Colton Schmidt, leaving the team up 1-0 after the first period.
In the second, Schmidt took a shot from the slot which found the back of the net, giving the Gusties a 2-0 advantage. However, the Oles fired back to steal the Gusties shut out three minutes into the third period.
Anderson, who had an impressive first-year with the black and gold last season, scored his first goal of the season on a powerplay. Anderson also finished the game with two assists.
The battle finished in a thrilling 3-3 double overtime against St. Olaf with the Oles taking the extra point in a shootout victory.
The team traveled the following evening to Northfield for a rematch against the Oles. Sophomore Tyler Rock scored his first of the season assisted by Juniors Jared Bromberg and Reid Brown at the end of the second period.
Three minutes into the third, the Oles answered back and despite the Gusties outshooting them 43-26, St. Olaf scored the game winning goal just three minutes later.
More recently, last weekend the Gusties traveled to Wisconsin, facing off against UW-Superior and UW-Stout.
The team had a strong start against the Superior Yellowjackets with two goals in the first period unanswered, scored by Anderson and assisted by First-year Brendan Elliot and Erickson.
Less than five minutes later, Sengvongxay found the back of the net on the power play making his first collegiate goal, assisted by Senior Van Sullivan and LeNeave.
UW-Superior broke the shutout in the second period and tied it six minutes later finishing out the second. The Gusties found their groove in the third on a power play when LeNeave scored unassisted followed by Schmidt’s second goal of the season assisted by Junior Axel Hallin and Sullivan.
Sophomore Robbie Goor had a notable performance that day with 44 saves in the 5-3 victory.
“It was great to see us play together as a team this weekend,” Goor said. “Our level of play is what we expected on Friday night and the outcome was in our favor.”
On Saturday the Gusties battled the UW-Stout Blue Devils. After a scoreless first period, Stout put in two goals within two minutes of each other in the second. They then tacked on two more in the third. Anderson was able to take away the Blue Devils shutout with 2:42 left in the game.
The team returns to MIAC play this weekend at Hamline tonight and at home on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in the Don Roberts Ice Rink.
“This weekend will be a good test.” LeNeave said. “We’ll have to establish ourselves as a 60 minute team and I’m really excited to compete.”