If not for Oles goaltender Henrik Wood, it would have been an early blowout. Wood stopped two breakaways among his 23 first-period saves and finished the game with 37 stops.
“We went for the jugular in the first period,” Petersen said. “That’s the best period we’ve played this year by far, but we were only up 2-0. (Wood) was really good. He kept them in there.”
It looked like more of the same to start the second, as Zach May made it 3-0 just 65 seconds in. But after killing off a Gustavus power play, the Oles charged back.
Lundstrom got St. Olaf on the board at 3:18, and Dan Cecka made it 3-2 with 3:41 remaining in the period — after Venne’s highlight save.
After seeing just three shots in the first period, Venne faced 18 in the second and 10 more in the third.
“After their first (goal), I knew I had to refocus,” Venne said. “It’s tough when you don’t see that many shots early.”
The Gusties (16-7-3) now will play top-seeded St. Thomas at 7:30 p.m. in Mendota Heights. St. Thomas swept the regular-season series, winning 6-0 and 2-1 in November.