Men’s Hockey Drops The Puck On The 2015-16 Season This Weekend

Posted on October 29th, 2015 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s hockey team is set to kick off its 2015-16 campaign this weekend at the annual MIAC Men’s Hockey Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. The Gusties face Saint Mary’s at 6:30 p.m. Friday and then play Hamline University at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Here are important links to follow this weekend’s action:

FRIDAY LIVE STATS 

SATURDAY LIVE STATS

GUSTAVUS LINKS: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | GAME NOTES

SAINT MARY’S LINKS: ROSTER | SCHEDULE

HAMLINE LINKS: ROSTER | SCHEDULE

MIAC MEN’S HOCKEY SHOWCASE WEBSITE

Location: Schwan Super Rink, Blaine, Minn. | Address: 1700 105th Ave., Blaine, MN, 55449 | Website | Map/Directions |

Admission: $7 for adults, $4 for students, children 5 and under admitted free

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Gustavus embarks on 74th season of men’s hockey

The Gustavus men’s hockey team is in its 74th season of existence. One of the storied programs in collegiate hockey, Gustavus has compiled an all-time record of 857-627-76 overall and 568-429-48 in the MIAC. The Gusties have won 14 MIAC Championships and earned a place in the NCAA Division III Tournament six times, which includes a runner-up finish in 2009.

Gustavus first recognized a men’s hockey team in 1937 when then Director of Physical Education George Myrum became interested in the sport and raised the funds to sponsor a team. The Gusties fell to Carleton in their first ever intercollegiate game in 1936. It would take until 1939, the first year Gustavus played on natural ice in the on-campus fieldhouse, for Gustavus to record the first victory in the program’s history.

Gustavus coaching staff

Head Coach Brett Petersen is in his 16th season at the helm of the Gustavus men’s hockey program. Petersen has compiled a 206-157-40 overall record in his 15 seasons at Gustavus. His 206 wins at Gustavus ranks second behind legendary coach Don Roberts. He has been named MIAC Coach of the Year twice in his tenure, once in 2001-02 and again in 2009-10.

Within MIAC play, Gustavus holds a record 129-84-27 during the Petersen era. The Gusties have earned a trip to the MIAC Playoffs 13 seasons and have advanced to the MIAC Playoff Championship a total of six times under Petersen. Since the turn of the century, Gustavus has qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament three times in 2009, 2010, and 2012. The Gusties advanced all the way to the NCAA Championship in 2009 where they fell to Neumann 4-1 at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Petersen, a Roseville, Minn. native, received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Denver in 1992 and his Master of Science degree in athletic administration in 2000 from St. Cloud State.

Former men’s hockey player Rory Dynan is in his first season as the assistant men’s hockey coach at Gustavus. A 2011 graduate of Gustavus, Dynan is a former forward for the Gusties and a native of Maple Plaine, Minn. During his three seasons wearing the three-crowned sweater, Dynan played in 72 games, recording 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points. Dynan was a member of the 2008-09 team that made it all the way to the NCAA Division III championship game. During that remarkable season, Dynan was third on the team with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists).

Last season at a glance

The Gustavus men’s hockey team seemed to be stuck in neutral last season as it posted an 8-9-8 overall record and 5-5-6 mark in the MIAC. The eight ties broke the single season NCAA Division III tie record of seven, held by three different schools. The five wins in the MIAC were also the fewest since Head Coach Brett Petersen’s first season at the helm in 2000-01. The Gusties snapped a string of 13 consecutive MIAC Playoff appearances as well as a streak of seven straight winning seasons.

Although no Gustie made the MIAC All-Conference Team, Jake Bushey (Duluth, Minn.) and Conor Deal (Anchorage, Alaska) were named to the All-Rookie Team, and goalie John McLean (Eagan, Minn.) earned Honorable Mention honors. Deal led the team with 20 points on 10 goals and 10 assist – all team highs. McLean posted a 5-5-3 record between to posts with a 2.02 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Erik Johnson (Sauk Rapids, Minn.) also saw time in goal with a 3-3-4 record, 2.80 goals against average and a .900 save percentage.

Minnesota grown

Gustavus’ 2015-16 roster includes 27 players, 24 of which hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Two come from out of state – Ross Kovacs (Jr., Dickinson, N.D.) and Van Sullivan (Fy., Brentwood, Tenn.) – while one comes from overseas – Edvin Johansson (Fy., Vasteras, Sweden).

Prior experience

Twenty-four of the 27 players on this season’s roster previously played junior hockey before beginning their collegiate careers. Eight of this year’s Gusties are alums of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), while four played in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MNJHL). The Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL), Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL), North American Tier III Hockey League (NA3HL), and Western States Hockey League (WSHL) are each represented by two players. The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), and American West Hockey League (AWHL) were all home to one future Gustie. Two Gusties this season are transfers from other collegiate institutions.

Captain’s log: 2015-16

The 2015-16 Gustavus men’s hockey team will be led into the season by junior captains Sam Majka (Wayzata, Minn.), Drew Aspinwall (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Jared Docken (Northfield, Minn.). Majka will wear the “C” on his Gustie sweater, while Aspinwall and Docken will wear the “A.” In the 74-year history of Gustavus men’s hockey, Majka is the 89th student-athlete to earn the right of wearing a “C” on his Gustavus sweater.

Head Coach Brett Petersen’s comment: “They certainly need to lead us and they have a big order and task. First of all, they are all juniors and historically we haven’t had many junior captains. But partly due to the fact that we are so young that they are getting thrown into this position maybe a year earlier than normal. I certainly think that part of the reason they are in that position is because I know they can handle it. But they have their work cut out for them with not only what happens on the ice but also behind the scenes in the locker room on trying to bring this group together. Usually, in a perfect world, you are dealing with adding maybe four or five new guys a year and now we are 13 new guys this year so they certainly got their work cut out for them.”

Senior leadership

The Gusties have gone from eight seniors last season to just two this year. Darren Lapic (New Praugue, Minn.) and Gavin Tufte (Blaine, Minn.) enter their final season wearing the Black and Gold. Last season, Lapic played in 23 games with four goals and three assists, while Tufte played in 16 games with four goals and three assists as well.

Coach’s comment: “We’re in a difficult cycle where we go from a high number of seniors last year to this year we only have two seniors. We are trying to go through the process of balancing our numbers out. It’s certainly not ideal but you play with the cards that you’re dealt with at the time. We’re doing the best we can with what we got.”

Letterwinners and fresh faces

Brett Petersen returns 14 letterwinners from last year’s team that went 8-9-8 overall and 5-5-6 in the MIAC. To go along with his 14 returning letterwinners, coach Petersen also welcomes 13 new players to the program. Seven of the fresh faces are freshman, five have come up from the junior varsity roster and one is a transfer from within the MIAC. This year’s freshman class includes Chris Amsden (St. Peter, Minn.), Justin DeWitz (Oronoco, Minn.), Will Holtan (Rochester, Minn.), Edvin Johansson (Vasteras, Sweden), Evan Erickson (Woodbury, Minn.), Van Sullivan (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Austin Anderson (Rosemount, Minn.). Alex Koopmeiners (St. Cloud, Minn.) is a transfer from Concordia College.

Coach’s comment: “We are going to try to get as many guys in as we can early this year just to see how our new guys handle different situations. I think just from a big picture standpoint, especially early on, we’ll be more short term goals rather than long term goals until we really figure out what we have. Partly because we are so young.”

Replacing lost firepower 

The biggest concern for the Gustavus men’s hockey team heading into the 2015-16 season is where its scoring will come from after losing five of its top six scorers in Conor Deal, Blake Schammel, Schyler Adams, Tyler Lapic and Andy Pearson. Deal led the Gusties last season with team-highs in both goals (10) and assists (10) for 20 points. Schammel was second in scoring with eight goals and six assists for 14 points. Adams (4 goals, 5 assists), Lapic (4 goals, 5 assists) and Pearson (3 goals, 6 assists) all registered 9 points. With the loss of those five individuals, the Gusties need to make up for 41 percent of its scoring from last season.

With 14 points off five goals and nine assists, Jake Bushey (So., Duluth, Minn.) is the team’s top returning scorer. Bushey played in 23 games last season with a .111 shot percentage, a -7 plus-minus and three power play goals.

Between the pipes

Gustavus will see a new face in goal as last year’s All-Conference Honorable Mention goalie John McLean has graduated. Erik Johnson (Jr., Sauk Rapids, Minn.) returns as the Gusties’ most experienced goalie as he posted a 3-3-4 record last year with a 2.80 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. Isaak Tjaden (So., Northfield, Minn.) played in one game last year with two goals against and 21 saves in a loss. First-year Chris Amsden (St. Peter, Minn.) is expected to see time in goal this season as he joins the team after playing for North Iowa of the NA3HL last season. For the first time in coach Petersen’s tenure at Gustavus, the varsity roster includes a hometown player in Amsden.

Coach’s comment: “We are excited. Chris is going to get some minutes in. He’s really chased it hard and he’s really worked hard to play college hockey and I’m pleased for him. His efforts have certainly been rewarded in the amount of miles he’s logged on the bus already.”

On the blue line

Juniors Drew Aspinwall (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Jared Docken (Northfield, Minn.) return as the most experienced defenders for the Gusties. Both were thrown into the fire as rookies in 2013-14 with Aspinwall playing in all 27 games and Docken suiting up in 26. Now after two seasons, Aspinwall has logged 52 career games, while Docken has 50. Last season, Aspinwall recorded two goals and six assists, and Docken posted one goal and five assists. As stated previously, defenseman Jake Bushey returns as the top point-scorer.

The long and winding road

To go along with the team’s standard 16 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests, this season’s long and winding schedule features non-conference games against teams belonging to the MIAC, WIAC and NCHA. In addition to non-league games against conference foes Saint Mary’s and Hamline this weekend at the MIAC Showcase, Gustavus will face UW-Stevens Point (Nov. 6), UW-Stout (Nov. 7, Jan. 9), UW-Eau Claire (Jan. 8), UW-Superior (Jan. 15) and UW-River Falls (Jan. 16) of the WIAC, and St. Scholastica (Dec. 11) of the NCHA. The Gusties will play 12 of their games at home at Don Roberts Ice Rink.

Coach’s comment: “As crazy as it sounds, the schedule is really good for us because it forces us to play and really figure out what we have. You can’t get that by just going through practice for an extended period of time. I’m excited that we have early games and we are going to be on the road for the first couple of weeks, which will be good for our young group. We need to find out what we have. I know what we have, but I really don’t know what we have. We need to see some of our news guys in adverse situations. There is no way you can put them on those situations here at practice.”

Scouting the Cardinals

In The 2014 Postseason

  • MIAC Playoffs: vs. Concordia-W, 3-2 (2 OTs); vs. Hamline-L, 4-2

Top Returners

  • Martin Gruse (5-10, 195, Jr., For. | 27 GP, 19 G, 19 A, 38 Pts.; CCM/AHCA Second-Team All-American, First-Team All-MIAC … Led all MIAC scorers in goals and points)
  • Bob Kinne (5-11, 175, Jr., For. | 17 GP, 9 G, 13 A, 22 Pts.; First-Team All-MIAC … Recorded at least one point in 12 of 17 games—including last nine)
  • Mike Mezzano (5-10, 175, Jr., Def. | 26 GP, 4 G, 18 A, 22 Pts. | First-Team All-MIAC … MIAC Elite 22 winner … Led all MIAC defensemen in goals and points in conference play)

Key Losses

  • Bob Marx (27 GP, 5 G, 13 A, 18 Pts. | First-Team All-MIAC … Appeared in 99 career games—including the last 85 in a row)
  • Jed McGlasson (27 GP, 10 G, 10 A, 20 Pts. | Honorable-mention All-MIAC … Posted career highs in goals, assists and points in 2014-15)
  • Mike Wolter (19 GP, 0 G, 5 A, 5 Pts.)

By The Numbers

  • 15: Saint Mary’s closed out the 2014-15 season with 15 wins (going 15-10-2)—the Cardinals’ most wins since going 15-11-1 during the 1996-97 campaign.
  • 19/38: Martin Gruse’s (Trenton, Mich.) 19 goals—including four-game winners—are the most by a Cardinal since the 2002-03 season, when Al Schumacher scored 19, while his 38 points are the most since Frank Savino, Nate DeMars, and Randy Gallatin finished with 62, 61, and 40 points, respectively, during the 1996-97 season.
  • 20: Saint Mary’s—which dropped a heartbreaking 4-2 decision to Hamline in the conference tournament title game a year ago—had not appeared in the MIAC Playoff championship game since the 1994-95 season, when the Cardinals captured their last conference tournament title by beating St. Thomas 5-4 and 8-6.

Scouting the Pipers

In the 2014 Postseason

  • MIAC postseason results: Defeated Augsburg (4-3), St. Thomas (6-3) and St. Mary’s (4-2) to win the MIAC playoffs
  • NCAA postseason results: Lost at UW-Stevens Point, 4-2, in quarterfinals

Top Returners

  • Brandon Zurn (F, Sr., 16g, 19 a, 35 pts, MIAC All-Conf., 2nd in points & assists)
  • Charlie Adams (F, Sr., 19 g, 15 a, 34 pts., West All-American, MIAC All Conf., tied for league lead in goals)
  • Kevin Novakovich (F, Sr., 12 g 8 a, 20 pts. Three year regular)

Key Losses

  • Joe Rubbelke (D, 3 g 20 a, led all MIAC defensemen in scoring, 3-year All-MIAC pick)

By the Numbers

  • 5: new faces on 2015-16 team
  • 12: improvement in win total from the year before (highest improvement of any D-III team)
  • 20: returning players from 2014-15 team
 

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