The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 12, 2013

Gusties head into break on hot streak

By Shane Frederick sfrederick@mankatofreepress.com
The Mankato Free Press

---- — ST. PETER — The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team is on break now and won’t return to action until Jan. 10. That’s more than a month between games.

Tough time to take a breather — at least for a team that’s on a bit of a roll.

The Gusties are on a seven-game unbeaten streak, going 5-0-2. They have the top scorer in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and their goaltender was just cited by the conference as the week’s best player.

“I’m especially pleased with how we ended the first half as compared to how we started,” coach Brett Petersen told the Gustavus website.

“We’ve seen good progress in the nine weeks we’ve been together, and we look forward to getting healthy over the break and coming back in January, which is a month this team has been historically good in.”

Gustavus sophomore goalie John McLean was named the MIAC’s Men’s Hockey Athlete of the Week for his performance in the Gusties’ five-point weekend against St. Olaf.

The sophomore stopped 22 of 23 shots in Friday’s 3-1 win and made 19 of 21 shots in Saturday’s 2-2 overtime game. He stopped all three Ole shootout attempts to help Gustavus earn an extra point for the MIAC standings.

“Big John had a great weekend and was able to come up with big saves when we needed him to,” Petersen said of the 6-foot-8 McLean, who has an .898 save percentage and a 2.52 goals-against average.

Meanwhile, senior forward Corey Leivermann, a Mankato native who has now been with the Gusties for a year since transferring from Minnesota State, leads the MIAC in scoring with 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 12 games.

Overall, the Gusties are 7-3-2 and 4-1-1 in MIAC play, which puts them in second place. They are not ranked and will play three ranked teams in the second half of the season, including No. 2 Adrian in a nonconference game on Jan. 11.

Bruggeman honored

Mankato native Tyler Bruggeman was named Defensive Player of the Week for the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association this week.

The sophomore goaltender for St. Scholastica improved his record to 5-0 after stopping 58 of 60 shots in a sweep of Lake Forest.

Bruggeman, a Mankato West graduate, ranks second in the NCHA with a .936 save percentage.

St. Scholastica is ranked ninth in the Division III men’s poll with a record of 8-1-2. The Saints sit atop the NCHA standings with a 6-0-2 record.

Frozen future

The NCAA on Wednesday announced four Frozen Four sites, granting bids to Boston (2015), Tampa (2016), Chicago (2017) and St. Paul (2018).

This year’s championship will take place in Philadelphia.

Two years of men’s hockey regionals sites were announced as well. Picks for 2015 included Providence, R.I.; Manchester, N.H.; South Bend, Ind.; and Fargo, N.D. Picks for 2016 included Albany, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and St. Paul.

The NCAA women’s Frozen Fours, meanwhile were awarded to Minneapolis (2015, 2018), Durham, N.H. (2016) and St. Charles, Mo. (2017).

One-timers

WCHA players of the week included: Ferris State forward Matt Robertson (offensive); Alabama Huntsville defenseman Frank Misuraca (defensive) and Bemidji State goaltender Jesse Wilkins (rookie). ... Including Minnesota State’s Zach Stepan 23 of the 29 players on the preliminary roster for the U.S. Junior National Team have college ties. ... St. Cloud State is No. 1 in the U.S. College Hockey Online men’s rankings for the first time since January 7, 2002.