Blaine, Minn. – In 11 of his complete-game outings this season, sophomore goaltender John McLean (Eagan, Minn.) came just one goal allowed away from a shutout. During a stretch of games in late-January, the hockey Gods seemed to be playing a joke on Big John when he allowed just one goal in four-straight outings. Just when it looked as if a shutout may elude him, McLean turned away all 24 shots he faced in the Gustavus men’s hockey team’s 1-0 victory over Bethel in the regular season finale on Saturday night at the Bethel University Arena.
Gustavus, who secured the No. 2 seed in the MIAC Playoffs with last night’s 4-1 win over the Royals, concludes the regular season with a record of 15-6-4 overall and 12-3-1 in the MIAC. Bethel sees its season come to a close with a record of 3-20-2 overall and 2-13-1 in the MIAC.
John McLean made six saves in the first period, 11 saves in the second, and seven saves in the third to preserve win. It is McLean’s first shutout since Oct. 26, 2012 when he stopped all 22 of Hamline’s shots at the MIAC Showcase. The sophomore heads into the postseason with a 14-5-2 overall record to go along with a 1.96 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.
The game’s first and only goal was scored in the ninth minute of the first period by Gustav Bengtson (Stockholm, Sweden). At the 8:34 mark of the opening frame, Bengtson put the puck away off assists from Andy Pearson (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.) and Jared Docken (Fr., Northfield, Minn.).
Following Bengtson’s game-winner, his first of the season, the Gusties and Royals skated out the remainder of the first period along with the second and third periods without another goal being recorded.
Both Gustavus and Bethel were blanked on their three power play tries in the game. The Gustie penalty killers have not allowed a power play goal in 10 games and have killed off 34 straight penalties over that time-span.
Gustavus finished with a 31-24 shots advantage on the night. Steven Bolten suffered the loss in net after stopping 30-of-31 shots.
The 2013-14 MIAC Men’s Hockey Playoffs will begin on Friday, Feb. 28 with No. 5 seed Concordia traveling to Northfield to face No. 4 seed St. Olaf at 7:30 p.m. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, March 1. The Gusties will take on No. 3 seed Saint John’s at 7:05 p.m. in St. Peter, while MIAC Champion St. Thomas will face the winner of Friday’s game at 7:00 p.m. in Mendota Heights.