The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 16, 2012

Gusties suffer 'Big' loss

ST PETER — The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team suffered a big loss on Friday night.

And that wasn’t just the 6-0 defeat at the hands of MIAC foe St. Thomas.

Gusties sophomore goaltender John McLean suffered what appeared to be a significant right ankle injury with about 3 minutes remaining in the first period.

The 6-foot-8 “Big John” — as he’s called, even during pregame introductions — got hurt on a non-contact play as he tried to swipe his stick at a loose puck to get it out of harm’s way. He had to be assisted off the ice and was unable to put any weight on the injured leg. He left the arena on crutches to get x-rays.

The Gusties also lost their leading scorer, junior Gustav Bengston, to an apparent knee injury.

“We’re decimated with injuries,” coach Brett Petersen said.

The loss was the third in a row for the Gusties (3-4-0, 0-3-0 in MIAC) and their second straight shutout. St. Thomas goalie Tyrone Simcoe finished with 21 saves, including one on Zach May’s penalty shot midway through the first period.

“We’re going to get some bodies healthy in January,” Petersen said. “But I worry that we’ll dig ourselves into too big a hole eventually. But it’s early.”

The game between two teams tied for 12th in the latest national poll was scoreless before McLean got hurt. He had stopped seven shots and helped the Gusties kill off two penalties.

McLean was replaced with senior Tyler Venne, who, at 5-9, is 11 inches shorter than Big John. However, Venne has had solid career numbers and, along with McLean and sophomore Patrick Sullivan, was off to a good start this season.

However, he wasn’t allowed to get as comfortable as his predecessor.

Michael Kreig scored a power-play goal on St. Thomas’ first shot on Venne, which came off the faceoff immediately following McLean’s injury, and the Tommies poured on four goals on eight shots in the second period.

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