Friday, December 2, 2016

Mavericks 7, Nanooks 3

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Rookie sensation: Marc Michaelis was the star of the show on Friday night, scoring four points, including his first collegiate hat trick, in the win over Alaska. His third goal was the prettiest, as I describe in the gamer (link below), but it was also very important as it gave MSU a 5-3 lead midway through the third period. The floodgates opened after that, and the final score was a rout. "We definitely talked about (extending the lead) in the locker room," Michaelis said. "The next goal would decide the game."

2. Brickley's back: Sophomore defenseman Daniel Brickley (pictured) picked up right where he left off, despite being out for eight games with an injury. He had a goal and an assist and made the Mavericks' power play look like a whole different unit. The Mavericks were 2 for 3 with the man advantage. His goal came on one, and he was running things on the second despite not getting an assist. "He didn’t come back and force the game," coach Mike Hastings said. I think he took what was there — made simple plays, smart plays. … Thought he played a real heady game, didn’t put himself in bad spots. And that’s what you want a good player to do."

3. Foguth's out: The Mavericks gave up three goals, two on the power play, and could have used their captain, senior defenseman Carter Foguth, to calm things down on the back end. He's out with a lower-body injury. Hastings said he's day-to-day but "has made significant strides in the last 48 hours." It's unlikely he'll play in Saturday's rematch with Alaska, though. With Foguth out, freshman Edwin  Hookenson got his first collegiate action. He was +1 with no shots on goal. His defensive partner, Clint Lewis, had a goal and an assist.

Read my game story here.

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

Live coverage: MSU vs. Alaska

Minnesota State is back home to start a WCHA series against Alaska. Live coverage and chat below tonight's lines ...

20-Michaelis, 15-Franklin, 19-McClure
6-Tuomie, 17-Huntebrinker, 10-Knutson
23-Rivera, 16-Nelson, 12-Coatta
25-Stepan, 26-French, 9-Gerard

8-Brickley, 18-Scheid
11-Flanagan, 27-Schwalbe
4-Lewis, 24-Hookenson


Scratches: Bigelbach, Cooper, Foguth, Madry, Vanko

14-Morley, 16-Munson, 22-Staley
26-Cline, 15-Van Tetering, 39-Heidt
25-Herdt, 27-Leiter, 9-Basara
18-Mullally, 7-Erickson, 13-Vieth

6-Frye, 24-Ladouce
12-Hinz, 32-Thompson
10-Kiraly, 5-Koberstein


Friday Morning Skate

Pat Christman/The Free Press
Good morning! The No. 15 Mavericks will be hosting the Alaska Nanooks tonight at the Verizon Center. It's their first rematch of the season, having played in Fairbanks Oct. 21-22. Then-leading scorer Daniel Brickley got hurt in the second game of that series but will be back for the first time since then tonight, as was reported Thursday.

Minnesota State is led in scoring by freshman forward Marc Michaelis (pictured). In some ways, his path from Germany to college hockey actually started in Mankato, although he didn't really know it at the time. Once the recruiting process started, he signed on very quickly.

A few more nuggets about Michaelis that didn't make the story:

• He was surprised early on that he was able to score so much (although his coaches weren't) but not any more, mainly because of who he's playing with. If you play a lot, you should expect a lot, he said. "You get used to playing with C.J. and Luresy," he said about skating on a line with juniors C.J. Franklin and Brad McClure. "They make plays where you don't even expect to make plays. ... I'd call it a little bit lucky, playing with those guys, getting some bounces that went in my favor."

• Michaelis recognizes that nine of his points have come on the power play. That can be good and bad. "We need to score a 5-on-5 goal," he said.

• Coach Mike Hastings said Michaelis made a good impression on him in the preseason and has kept that up. Others have taken notice, too. "I think he's a really good hockey player," Hastings said. "I think if you ask the other 13 forwards who they'd like to play with, I think he'd be at the top of the list, maybe top two."

• One player who stood out to Michaelis in that game he watched in 2012 was Matt Leitner, who was a sophomore at the time. "He was one of those guys I remember watching," he said. With his rink vision and history of being a good puck distributor who can also score, could Michaelis be the next Leitner for MSU? "I hope so," he said.

For more about the weekend series, see The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday feature.

Read more about the Nanooks in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Going around the WCHA ...

Bemidji State at Michigan Tech: This is the league's marquee matchup of the weekend as the first-place Beavers travel to the U.P. Bemidji State still hasn't lost in WCHA play but may be reeling a bit after getting swept at home by previously winless Princeton last weekend. The Huskies, meanwhile, are on a seven-game unbeaten streak, including a sweep last weekend at Alaska.

Bowling Green at Lake Superior State: The Falcons are rolling, too, with a six-game unbeaten streak and only one loss in their last nine. They will play the Lakers, who have just one win in their last seven following their 6-1 start. Bowling Green has the WCHA's leading scorer in junior forward Mitch McLain, who has 17 points.

Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage: The Seawolves host the Wildcats with the hope of leapfrogging them in the standings. Anchorage is last in the WCHA and on a 10-game winless streak and sits one point behind Northern Michigan, which is winless in its last seven, although it did tie Omaha and win the 3-on-3 overtime session last Friday. The Wildcats, too, hope this is a weekend in which they can make a move in the standings.

Ferris State at Alabama Huntsville: The Bulldogs travel to the Hockey Capital of the South for a Saturday-Sunday series. They are tied with the Chargers for fifth place in the WCHA. Ferris State has won four of five games. Huntsville has dropped three in a row, four with a 3-on-3 OT loss.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Brickley is back for Mavericks

Minnesota State should get a nice boost this weekend when sophomore defenseman Daniel Brickley returns to the lineup after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

Brinkley returned to practice in full this week and will get in a game for the first time since Oct. 22 at Alaska when he was hurt in the third period after appearing to lose an edge and crash into the boards with a checking player falling on top of him. Coincidently, the Mavericks will be hosting the Nanooks on Friday and Saturday in Mankato.

“It’s been tough watching the team play when you want to be out there,” the sophomore said after practice Wednesday. 

Brickley has been doing a lot of skating after practice in recent weeks with student-assistant Tim Jackman, so his conditioning should be up to speed, he said.

Brickley turned the heads of fans and pro scouts alike over his first five games of the season, scoring 10 points, nine of which were assists, and helping MSU get off to a 5-0-0 start.

The Mavericks lost the game in which he got hurt and are 3-4-1 since.

“I have to give it up to the guys; the team is real close,” Brickley said. “We all bonded well, and it translated to the ice. The power play was working well at times. We knew where everybody was going to be, and we were all on the same page and meshed really well. We just have to get back to that.”

The Mavericks averaged 4.8 goals per game and were 30 percent on the power play in their first five games. Since then, they’ve averaged 2.33 goals per game and are 12.2 percent with the man advantage.

Read more in The Free Press story here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mavericks ranked 15th

After being off over Thanksgiving weekend, Minnesota State dropped one spot to No. 15 in the latest U.S. College Hockey Online rankings

A few things threw the pollsters for loop this weekend, including red-hot Bemidji State getting an ice bath in the form of previously winless Princeton. The Tigers (whom MSU will play on the road in a couple of weeks) went to Bemidji and swept the Beavers 4-1 and 3-1.

Bemidji State (35 points) remains firmly atop the WCHA standings at 11-0-1, with an eight-point lead over second-place Michigan Tech (27). Both have played 12 conference games.

Bowling Green, Minnesota State and Ferris State, each of whom has played 10 league games, are next in line at 20, 16 and 14 points, respectively. Alabama Huntsville, which has played 12 games also sits at 14 points.

The Mavericks will host eighth-place Alaska (11 points, 10 games) this weekend before closing out the first of their WCHA schedule at Ferris State and playing Princeton before winter break.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pawloski honored; MSU moves up

Minnesota State sophomore goaltender Jason Pawloski was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in last weekend's two nonconference games against Minnesota, a 4-1 win and a 1-0 loss.

The Omaha, Neb., native stopped 62 of 64 shots for a .969 save percentage and a 1.01 goals against average in the series, including 25 in the win in Mankato on Friday and a career-high 37 in Minneapolis on Saturday.

Pawloski is 2-2-1 with a 2.02 goals against average and a .919 save percentage this season. He has started four of MSU's last five games. You can read more about him in today's MSU Hockey Review. For more on the WCHA players of the week this week, go here.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks moved up one spot, to No. 14 in the latest USCHO rankings and USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

In case you're wonder how the Minnesota teams are ranked ...

1. Minnesota Duluth
10. Bemidji State
11. Minnesota
14. Minnesota State
15. St. Cloud State

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Gophers 1, Mavericks 0

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Tough-luck loss: That was the case for goalie Jason Pawloski, who stopped a career-high 37 shots, only to fall 1-0 to the Gophers. He was nothing short of outstanding, and even made two good saves on a scramble in front of his net before giving up the game's lone goal, a power-play goal by Justin Kloos. The 38 shots were the most MSU has allowed this season. The previous high was 29 to Lake Superior State. The Mavericks' 23 shots on goal tied a season-low when they had that number on opening night against Michigan Tech. They had just 12 shots through two periods, three in the second.

2. Tale of two nights: Other than Pawloski's play, the things the Mavericks did well in Friday night's win over Minnesota didn't show up on Saturday. They didn't get bodies in front of goalie Eric Schierhorn. They didn't get on loose pucks and rebounds. They didn't control the puck up top in the offensive zone. It was a struggle getting any offense going. "I didn’t think we were as hard, and I thought they were harder," coach Mike Hastings said. "I thought they defended a lot better than last night, and our second and third efforts weren’t what they were last night. (We) didn’t get a lot of second and third opportunities. When we got pucks to the net and they were laying between the hash marks, a white jersey was getting there, not a purple one."

3. Break time: The Mavericks will get their first idle weekend of the season over Thanksgiving, and it probably comes at a good time. They have played seven straight weeks to start the season and have a record of 8-5-1. After the week off, they will play three series, including two on the road before the holiday break. The hope is they'll have defenseman Daniel Brickley from injury back sometime in that stretch. With some struggles by their defensemen to control the puck against the Gophers, they sure could have used him on Saturday.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Ferris State 7, Lake Superior State 5 ... Bemidji State 5, Northern Michigan 2 ... Bowling Green 8, Alabama Huntsville 3 ... Michigan Tech at Alaska Anchorage (late)