Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday — yes, Tuesday — Morning Skate

The No. 7 Mavericks will host No. 9 Minnesota Duluth in a rare Tuesday-night game. It should be a good one between two teams playing some pretty good hockey lately. Minnesota State is 9-2-0 since losing to the Bulldogs in Duluth on Thanksgiving weekend.

Between Hockey Day Minnesota in St. Cloud and playing UMD today, it's a special week for the Mavericks, but also one they hope to finish off with a "weekend" sweep.

Read more about tonight's matchup here.

A Tuesday game means a quick turnaround for both teams. UMD is coming off a home sweep of North Dakota but, like MSU and its win at St. Cloud State on Saturday, there isn't much time to enjoy it. More here in the Duluth News Tribune's preview.

The UMD family suffered a tragedy on Monday as former captain Andrew Carroll died after a fall at Chicago's O'Hare airport. He was 32 and played for the Bulldogs from 2005-2009.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Knutson gets WCHA honor

Minnesota State senior forward Zeb Knutson was named WCHA Offensive Player of the week for his two-goal performance in the Mavericks' win at St. Cloud State on Saturday night. Knutson was also plus-3 and had four shots on goal.

Knutson now has 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points 25 games. He has reached career-highs for assists and points.

This was the third time he's been named offensive player of the week this season.

The Mavericks will host Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.

Other WCHA weekly awards went to Northern Michigan sophomore Philip Beaulieu (Defensive), Bemidji State senior Michael Bitzer and Bowling Green freshman forward Brandon Kruse (Rookie).

Mavericks move back to No. 7

Minnesota State moved up to No. 7 (from No. 9) in the USCHO rankings after its win on Saturday at St. Cloud State. The WCHA is making a good showing in this week's poll, as Bowling Green is No 15 and Northern Michigan is No. 20. Bemidji State and Michigan Tech also are receiving votes. Here is the poll.

Minnesota State remained No. 8 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. More importantly, the Mavericks are seventh in the Pairwise.

USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll
Minneapolis, Minn./January 22, 2018

 1 Notre Dame                (33)   19- 4-1   981     1
 2 Cornell                   (15)   16- 2-1   942     4
 3 Clarkson                  ( 1)   18- 4-2   873     2
 4 Denver                    ( 1)   14- 6-4   847     5
 5 St. Cloud State                  14- 5-3   804     3
 6 Ohio State                       15- 5-4   748     6
 7 Minnesota State                  18- 7-0   696     9
 8 Northeastern                     15- 6-3   595     8
 9 Minnesota Duluth                 13- 9-3   573    14
10 Providence                       16- 8-2   543    10
11 North Dakota                     12- 8-6   516     7
12 Western Michigan                 13-10-1   460    11
13 Minnesota                        15-12-1   439    13
14 Penn State                       13-10-3   233    12
15 Bowling Green                    14- 8-6   227    17
16 Boston College                   11- 9-3   222    16
17 Michigan                         12-10-2   204    20
18 Wisconsin                        12-12-3   164    18
19 Omaha                            12-11-1   142    15
20 Northern Michigan                15-10-3   101    NR

Others receiving votes: Harvard 98, Bemidji State 33, UMass
Lowell 17, Maine 16, Boston University 9, Michigan Tech 9,
Union 5, Colgate 3.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Mavericks 5, Huskies 2

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Good in goal: Mike Hastings has been waiting for a goaltender to grab the No. 1 job and run with it. Saturday might have been a step in the right direction for Connor LaCouvee. He sure was good when he needed to be against the Huskies. He held the nation's top-scoring team to two goals, stopping 28 shots, for his 12th win of the season. "I thought he was solid," Hastings said. "You need goaltending. Late in the season when you play a team like St. Cloud, they’re going to make pushes and you’ve got to find a way to keep it out of your net. ... They had some good looks, and that’s when I thought Connor was real good." LaCouvee stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period but also made a huge pad save on the first shift and another later in the period with a 1-0 lead. "It was awesome for the guys to get this win against a great opponent like St. Cloud," LaCouvee said. "I thought I was fighting the puck a little bit, but the guys played so well in front of me."

2. Second line shines: MSU's top line of C.J. Suess, Parker Tuomie and Marc Michaelis has been great of late, but the home Huskies did a good job of keeping them in check. They couldn't stop everybody, though, and the group of Jake Jaremko, Reggie Lutz and Zeb Knutson shined. Knutson scored two goals, Jaremko had a goal and Reggie Lutz assisted on two goals. The prettiest play of the night came when Lutz made a behind-the-back pass to Jaremko on a low 2-on-1, and Jaremko finished with a shot between goalie Jeff Smith's legs. "We’ve needed some secondary scoring to come around because C.J. and Michaelis and Tuomie had been carrying us for awhile," Hastings said. "To see Jake and Lutz and Knutson play the way they played tonight, I thought they were good offensively but I thought they were even better defensively. When you have the puck as much as they did tonight, they don’t have to play a lot of defense, but when they did I thought they were real solid."

3. Still solid on the road: Another impressive thing about the victory was the fact that MSU was coming off its long Alaska trip. The Mavericks went 3-1 there but recovering from those trips can be tough. They did have one extra day to prepare since they didn't play on Friday, but they had to go to the hostile National Hockey Center in front of a crowd of nearly 5,600 and play the No. 3 team in the country. "We knew it was going to be a sold-out barn, and they really draw from their crowd," Knutson said. "We knew it was important to try and get on it right away in the first five minutes and get the first one." Which they did, as freshman defenseman Connor Mackey scored 93 seconds into the game. The Mavericks improved their road record to 12-4-0, and they have just one road trip remaining in the regular season.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Alaska Anchorage 2 ... Bemidji State 4, Ferris State 1 ... Michigan Tech 4, Alaska 3 ... Northern Michigan 3, Lake Superior State 2

Live: Minnesota State vs. St. Cloud State

The No. 9 Mavericks and No. 3 Huskies are squaring off on Hockey Day Minnesota. Follow along with the action below tonight's lines.

20-Michaelis, 15-Suess, 6-Tuomie
16-Lutz, 5-Jaremko, 10-Knutson
23-Rivera, 11-Spooner, 19-McClure
22-Gerads, 26-French, 12-Coatta

8-Brickley, 18-Scheid
25-Zmolek, 2-Mackey
4-Lewis, 24-Hookenson


Scratches: Bigelbach, Cooper, Gerard, Duehr, McNeely, A. Nelson, Schwalbe, Vanko

19-Eyssimont, 27-B. Lizotte, 14-Newell
23-Jackson, 11-R. Poehling, 26-Brodzinski
3-J. Poehling, 18-Peterson, 7-N. Poehling
42-Winiecki, 28-Fitzgerald, 17-Benson

12-Ahcan, 20-Borgen
22-Schuldt, 10-J. Lizotte
55-Ilvonen, 6-Jaycox


Hockey Day Morning Skate

It's Hockey Day Minnesota 2018, and the No. 9 Mavericks are in St. Cloud for a game against the No. 3 Huskies.

Minnesota State has 11 Minnesotans on its roster, and they're excited about the prospect of being a part of what's become a real tradition in the self-proclaimed State of Hockey. As for the game itself, read more about the matchup here.

Since Hockey Day is in St. Cloud, the St. Cloud Times has lots of coverage of the events, which began last night and include a few outdoor games today before the Mavericks and Huskies take the ice inside the Herb Brooks Center.

Read a story on the Wild website on today's coaches, Minnesota natives Mike Hastings and Bob Motzko.

Fox Sports North, which is broadcasting most of today's games (the MSU-SCSU game is on FSN-Plus) has coverage of Hockey Day on its website. Check back there for more features throughout the day.

Also, C.J. Suess is getting a lot of ink this week. He's the top scoring Minnesotan in college hockey. Here are stories on him by The Athletic and the NCAA.com.

What happened in the WCHA last night? Here are the scores: Bemidji State 2, Ferris State 0 ... Michigan Tech 5, Alaska 2 ... Northern Michigan 3, Lake Superior State 2 ... Bowling Green 6, Alaska Anchorage 2.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Morning Skate

Minnesota State doesn't play tonight, so there will be links to my gameday coverage tomorrow morning before the Mavericks' Hockey Day Minnesota matchup at St. Cloud State.

Did you know what MSU already has qualified for the WCHA tournament? That means the first-place Mavericks can't finish ninth or 10th in the league standings. They have 45 points in 20 league games with eight to go. However, they won't play a WCHA opponent until Feb. 2-3 when Alaska Anchorage come to Mankato.

There is some WCHA action that begins tonight. Here's a quick glance at what's happening:

Bemidji State at Ferris State: The Beavers are unbeaten in their last nine WCHA games and will see if they can keep that going this weekend in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs have been streaky. They snapped a six-game losing streak last week in a split at Lake Superior State. The WCHA's website has a good feature on Ferris State's Joe Rutkowski here.

Alaska at Michigan Tech: The Nanooks were able to slow down MSU last Friday but not two days in a row. They're expecting another speedy opponent this weekend in Houghton. The Huskies are back in league action after four games out of the WCHA.

Lake Superior State at Northern Michigan: The Lakers are traveling across the U.P. to take on the Wildcats, who are unbeaten in 10 of their last 12 games and coming off a big sweep of Bowling Green. The teams are playing for the Cappo Cup.

Alaska Anchorage at Bowling Green: The Seawolves finally got a home win last weekend — just their second victory overall — and will head to Ohio to take on the Falcons. Bowling Green isn't too happy about getting swept last weekend at NMU.

Read more about the WCHA from USCHO here.