The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

January 23, 2014

Gusties on top of MIAC but under the radar

ST. PETER — The Gustavus Adolphus men’s hockey team is unbeaten in 10 of its last 11 games, with the only loss in that stretch coming against the No. 1 team in the nation.

The Gusties, who sit in first place in the MIAC, have received a few votes for the national rankings but have yet to enter the top 15.

But that’s all right with coach Brett Petersen.

“We just keep plugging along, trying to stay under everybody’s radar,” he said.

Gustavus begins the second half of its conference schedule on Friday night when it hosts St. Mary’s. The Gusties are 6-1-1 in MIAC play, and their remaining games include their closest competitors, second-place St. Thomas and third-place St. John’s.

“We’ve made a good push, for the most part,” Petersen said. “Big John (McLean) has carried the load in goal. He’s been our best player so far, our most consistent player.”

McLean, the 6-foot-8 sophomore, is 8-3-3 with a .910 save percentage and 2.30 goals-against average.

Against No. 1 and still-unbeaten Adrian on Jan. 11, the Gusties outshot the Bulldogs 33-29 but lost 2-0.

“They pushed us,” Petersen said. “They forced us to do things quickly. They’re a really good team. We were disappointed in the outcome but not in our effort.”

The Gusties, who are led in scoring by senior captain Corey Leivermann (10 goals, 18 points) bounced back to sweep Augsburg in an MIAC series last weekend.

“It’s been a really good group,” Petersen said. “We’ve had the same lineup, for the most part, so there’s been a lot of consistency. We’ve been healthy, and we hope it stays that way.”

McInnis honored

Minnesota State senior captain Johnny McInnis was named WCHA offensive player of the week for his performance in the Mavericks’ sweep over Ferris State.

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