The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 23, 2014

Gusties on top of MIAC but under the radar

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

---- — 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.

McInnis finished the weekend with three goals, including both game-winners, as well as an assist. He was also plus-2 and had 16 shots on goal.

McInnis now has 12 career game-winning goals, an amount which ranks third on MSU’s all-time list. He has 19 points this season, including 10 goals.

McInnis’ goal from Dylan Margonari on Friday night was featured among the NCAA’s top-five plays of the week

The other players of the week were Bemidji State defenseman Matt Prapavessis (defensive) and Northern Michigan forward John Siemer (rookie).

Pond tourney set

The Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Tournament will take place Feb. 8-9 at Westwood Marina on Lake Washington. Adults will play on Saturday, and youth teams will play on Sunday.

Team registration is available online at www.anthonyford99.com. Deadline to sign up is Thursday, Jan. 30. Volunteer opportunities and other information can also be found on the website.

One-timers

Tickets for this weekend’s North Star College Cup tournament in St. Paul are still available through the Xcel Energy Center box office and through Ticketmaster. Single-session tickets are $45 each and allow access to both games in the session. A limited number of two-day packages are still available for $80 each. ... The Gustavus women’s hockey team remained at No. 7 in the latest national poll.