Monday, December 11, 2017

Three Mavericks honored

Three Minnesota State players received WCHA honors for their play in last weekend's series sweep over Lake Superior State.

Senior forward Zeb Knutson was named Offensive Player of the Week, junior defenseman Daniel Brickley was named Defensive Player of the Week and freshman center Jake Jaremko was named Rookie of the Week.

Knutson had a five-point weekend with two goals and three assists. Four of the points came in Friday's 5-1 win. He was plus-2 and had six shots on goal. He leads MSU in scoring with 20 points and in goals with eight.

Brickley had a goal and three assists for four points in the series. He had four shots on goal and was plus-1. Three of the points cam eon Friday night. He now has 14 points for the year, including four goals.

Jaremko also had a four-point weekend, with two each night. He had six shots on goal and was plus-1. He had a goal and an assist on Friday and two assists in Saturday's 7-0 victory. He now has 17 points, including four goals, for the season with 13 points coming during his current seven-game point-scoring streak.

The other WCHA award went to Alaska's Anton Martinsson, who earned the Goaltender of the Week honor for winning twice against rival Alaska Anchorage in Anchorage.

Mavericks move up to No. 7

Following its sweep of Lake Superior State over the weekend, the Minnesota State men's hockey team moved up one spot to No. 7 in the latest U.S. College Hockey Online and USA Today/USA Hockey rankings.

At 11-5-0, the Mavericks are tied for fifth in the country in winning percentage. They're also third in the nation in scoring (3.75 goals per game) after scoring 12 goals over the weekend and eighth in defense (2.38) after allowing just one to the Lakers. Here's the USCHO poll:

USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll
Minneapolis, Minn./December 11, 2017

   Team             (First Place)    Record   Pts  Last Week
 1 St. Cloud State           (35)   12- 2-1   978     2
 2 Denver                    ( 8)    9- 3-4   918     1
 3 Notre Dame                ( 6)   16- 3-1   907     4
 4 Clarkson                  ( 1)   15- 3-1   893     3
 5 Cornell                          10- 2-0   760     6
 6 North Dakota                     10- 5-5   758     5
 7 Minnesota State                  11- 5-0   694     8
 8 Northeastern                     10- 5-1   617    10
 9 Ohio State                       10- 4-4   566    15
10 Minnesota                        10- 9-1   519     7
11 Providence                       10- 7-1   516     9
12 Western Michigan                 10- 8-1   433    11
13 Wisconsin                        10- 9-2   335    12
14 Boston College                    9- 7-2   327    14
15 Penn State                       11- 7-2   322    18
16 New Hampshire                     9- 7-1   260    13
17 Minnesota Duluth                  8- 9-2   150    17
18 Colgate                           8- 6-4   129    16
19 Union                            10- 8-1    74    19
20 Canisius                         10- 5-1    69    NR

Others receiving votes: Bowling Green 61, Colorado College
50, Miami 37, UMass Lowell 33, Omaha 26, Boston University
20, Harvard 16, Michigan 14, Massachusetts 10, Niagara 4,
Army 2, Bentley 1, Maine 1.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Mavericks 7, Lakers 0

Freddy's three thoughts (from afar):

1. Road trippin': The Mavericks dominated the Lakers all weekend, outscoring them 12-1, including Saturday's touchdown and PAT. With their next four games at home, they finished their 11 first-half road games with an impressive 8-3 record. That included three shutouts (Connor LaCouvee's first collegiate clean sheet on Saturday) and three series sweeps (at BU, at Bemidji State, at Lake State). Minnesota State had just one series sweep away from Mankato last year, two the year before. It also had three road sweeps total in 2014-15.

2. Freshmen feeling good: Minnesota State's rookies didn't play like first-year players against the Lakers. Dallas Gerads scored his first collegiate goal to open the scoring on Saturday, and Reggie Lutz had three assists. Jake Jaremko, continued to stay hot, assisting on two goals for a four-point weekend and now ranks third on the team in scoring with 17 points. The scoring was really spread around, but the line of Jaremko, Lutz and senior Zeb Knutson (he had a goal Saturday and a five-point weekend), but dominant all weekend.

3. They've got the power: Minnesota State went 4 for 7 on the power play on Saturday and finished the series 6 for 13. Parker Tuomie scored two power play goals on Saturday and three for the weekend. Knutson, Ian Scheid and Jaremko also had PPGs in the series. MSU's power play percentage for the season is now up to 28 percent. Meanwhile, the Mavericks stoned the Lakers on three power plays Saturday and eight for the weekend. Lake State entered the series with one of the better power plays in the WCHA and in the country. Just an impressive weekend for the Mavericks.

Read my gamer here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Alabama Huntsville 1 ... Michigan Tech 5, Ferris State 1 ... Northern Michigan 4, Bemidji State 4 (NMU wins shootout) ... Alaska at UAA (late, UAF won 7-2 on Friday)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Mavericks 5, Lakers 1

Freddy's three thoughts (from afar) ...

1. Floodgates open: The Mavericks used a five-goal second period to turn a 1-0 deficit into the 5-1 win and snap a two-game losing streak. The key was something they didn't do against Minnesota Duluth in their last game: Get to the net. Starting with Jared Spooner's game-tying goal, the Mavericks worked to get to the so-called "hard areas" and were rewarded for it. Parker Tuomie, Zeb Knutson, Jake Jaremko and Daniel Brickley also scored goals. The Mavericks also got their scoring going without Marc Michaelis in the lineup. He was back in Mankato with an undisclosed injury.

2. Big night: Knutson had a four-point game with a goal and three assists, and Brickley finished with a goal and two assists. When asked about those performances, coach Mike Hastings actually turned to both players' defensive play, saying Knutson "played a 200-by-85 game" that led to scoring chances. Watching online, it was amazing how open Knutson seemed to get in the Lakers zone. Hastings said Brickley played a well-rounded game. Hastings also praised captain C.J. Suess, who had an assist and a team-leading five shots on goal.

3. Goalie change: Hastings gave Jason Pawloski his first start in goal since Nov. 11, and the junior got his third win of the season, stopping 23 shots. The game started disastrously for him, though, as he got behind 1-0 when a puck dumped in past a defenseman from the blue line took an odd bounce off the ice and went into the net. The Mavericks were playing well in that period, too, but were denied on 13 shots. Everyone bounced back in the second period, though. Pawloski helped the Mavericks kill off five penalties.

Read my write-up here.

Around the WCHA: Ferris State 4, Michigan Tech 3 ... Alabama Huntsville 3, Bowling Green 3 (UAH wins in shootout) ... Northern Michigan 1, Bemidji State 1 (NMU wins in 3x3) ... Alaska at Alaska Anchorage (late)

Friday Morning Skate

Minnesota State is back on the road — again.

The Mavericks are playing at Lake Superior State for their 10th and 11th road games of their first 16 games, their sixth weekend away from Mankato after playing just three times at home in the first half. But MSU doesn't seem to mind the travel, as it has gone 6-3-0 on the road so far.

The Mavericks are also back from their first bye weekend of the season and hope to be well-rested going forward, too.

Read more about that and the series against the Lakers in my College Hockey Gameday feature here. The Laker Hockey Blog also previews this weekend's series here.

Around the WCHA ...

All 10 conference teams are in action against each other. Here's a look at the matchups:

Ferris State at Michigan Tech: The host Huskies are back from a two-week tour of Alaska where they went 2-0-2. They're also 3-1-3 in their last seven games and hope to keep that non-losing momentum going this weekend. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have won three of their last four and are 6-3-0 since starting the season 2-6-1.

Alabama Huntsville at Bowling Green: The host Falcons moved into first place in the WCHA last weekend. They have lost just twice since Oct. 21, although they are 6-2-5 in that stretch. The Chargers, who are in the midst of a 12-game road swing, are playing well, too. After starting the season 1-6-0, next week's MSU opponent has gone 5-3-1.

Northern Michigan at Bemidji State: The host Beavers hope to bounce back after getting just two points at Bowling Green last weekend. They felt a little unlucky last weekend and hope being back home will cure what's ailing them. They have just one win in their last six games but are beginning a six-game homestand. As for the Wildcats, they're 1-4-0 in their last five and are trying to find more consistency in their game.

Alaska at Alaska Anchorage: These are games 3 and 4 of the Governor's Cup between the two rivals, both of whom have been struggling a bit. The visiting Nanooks are 2-7-0 in their last nine games, and the Seawolves are on a six-game winless streak, although they have gotten a few extra overtime points in shootouts and 3x3 play. The best story of the day comes from the Alaska Dispatch News, which has this one about the Seawolves' emergency third goalie, a former sports media intern.

Read the USCHO weekly column here.

Also, if you're going to the Minnesota State women's games against Lindenwood this weekend at the Verizon Center, Saturday is the Mavericks' Teddy Bear Toss. It will take place during the second intermission Saturday and all stuffed toys tossed on the ice will be donated to children in need. There also will be a team autograph session after Saturday's game.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What'd I miss?

I'm back from a couple of days or R and R. So what happened during Minnesota State's bye week?

Well, the Mavericks stayed at No. 8 in the latest USCHO poll and moved up to No. 8 from No. 10 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings.

As expected, idle Minnesota State also dropped out of first place in the WCHA standings, as Bowling Green took 4 of 6 points from Bemidji State last weekend, a 3-1 win and a 3-3 tie with a shootout loss.

The Falcons now have a three-point lead over the Mavericks atop the standings, but MSU has two games in hand. Minnesota State has four games in hand over Michigan Tech, which sits one point back in third place.

Those games in hand won't change this weekend as all 10 WCHA teams will be in action against each other. Here's the schedule:

Minnesota State at Lake Superior State
Alabama Huntsville at Bowling Green
Ferris State at Michigan Tech
Northern Michigan at Bemidji State
Alaska at Alaska Anchorage

Current standings look like this:

1. Bowling Green, 24 points (12 GP)
2. Minnesota State, 21 points (10)
3. Michigan Tech, 20 points (14)
4. Northern Michigan, 18 points (10)
5. Alabama Huntsville, 16 points (10)
5. Ferris State, 16 points (10)
7. Lake Superior State, 11 points (10)
7. Alaska, 11 points (12)
9. Bemidji State, 10 points (8)
10. Alaska Anchorage, 9 points (8)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Minnesota State stays at No. 8

Despite Saturday's 3-1 loss at Minnesota Duluth, USCHO voters kept Minnesota State at No. 8 this week in the rankings. The Mavericks are the only WCHA team in the top 20.

Meanwhile, in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings, the Mavericks fell from ninth to 10th.

USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll
Minneapolis, Minn./November 27, 2017

   Team             (First Place)    Record   Pts  Last Week
 1 Denver                    (39)    7- 3-2   984     1
 2 St. Cloud State           ( 9)    9- 2-0   946     2
 3 Clarkson                  ( 1)   12- 3-1   862     5
 4 Notre Dame                ( 1)   12- 3-1   860     4
 5 Cornell                           9- 1-0   793     7
 6 North Dakota                      8- 4-4   714     3
 7 Minnesota                         9- 6-1   676     6
 8 Minnesota State                   9- 5-0   568     8
 9 Providence                        8- 5-1   512    10
10 Western Michigan                  9- 5-1   501    11
11 Ohio State                        8- 3-3   465    15
12 Northeastern                      7- 4-1   425    12
13 New Hampshire                     7- 4-1   386    13
14 Wisconsin                         9- 6-2   382     9
15 Boston College                    8- 5-2   375    14
16 Minnesota Duluth                  7- 6-2   300    16
17 Colgate                           8- 4-4   260    18
18 UMass Lowell                      8- 6-0   142    19
19 Union                             8- 6-1   130    NR
20 Omaha                             6- 5-1    65    NR

Others receiving votes: Michigan 48, Boston University 22,
Niagara 19, Michigan State 14, Canisius 11, Penn State 11,
Bemidji State 3, Bowling Green 3, Harvard 3, Holy Cross 3,
Miami 3, Colorado College 2, Massachusetts 1.