Saturday, January 12, 2019

Mavericks 2, Bulldogs 1

Freddy's three thoughts from afar:

1. Sweepin' ain't easy: Sure, a lot of MSU fans expected the Mavericks to win twice at ninth-place Ferris State, fearing a disastrous Pairwise hit if they come out of Big Rapids with two wins. Minnesota State won another squeaker on Saturday to get the sweep. But all you have to do is look at the other scores from around the WCHA and realize how tough a task it can be. Bemidji State and Lake Superior State couldn't sweep at home this weekend, and Bowling Green and Michigan Tech split in Houghton. Perhaps Northern Michigan will win two at last-place Alaska Anchorage. It took good goaltending by Dryden McKay and a couple of fortuitous bounces for the Mavericks to pull it off this weekend, and they're in a good spot atop the standings because of it.

2. Injury report: Mike Hastings called the win "gutsy," and indeed, the Mavericks were playing without a couple of key players. Junior forward Parker Tuomie missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury, and sophomore defenseman Riese Zmolek was out with an upper-body injury suffered on Friday night. Hastings said he believes Zmolek is going to be fine, but Saturday night in that small rink was the kind of game where you need good, minutes-eating, defensive defensemen. Andy Carroll filled in at Zmolek's spot on the line chart and showed that he's continuing to get better as his rookie season progresses.

3. Elk's club: I didn't quite declare the sophomore slumps of Jake Jaremko and Reggie Lutz to be over on Friday night, but I didn't jinx them either. Lutz scored a goal (while lying on his stomach), Jaremko assisted on it, and the duo from Elk River were called the Mavericks' "two best players all weekend" by Hastings after the game. As I said on Friday, if those two start playing like most people expected they would this season, MSU's depth will be hard for anyone to handle. As for Lutz's prone-position goal, Hastings said, "That's one of those where, if you do things the right way, this game has the tendency to pay you back. He did things the right way all weekend. He played hard, and he played honest."

Read my game story here.

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

Mavericks 3, Bulldogs 2 (OT)

Freddy's three thoughts from afar ...

1. OT winner: Ian Scheid scored the game-winning goal at 3:03 overtime, giving the Mavericks their first win in six overtime games dating back to last season. They defeated Alabama Huntsville 3-2 in OT on Feb. 9, 2018 but then went 0-3-2 in overtime, including two playoff losses last season (Game 3 of the WCHA semifinal series to Michigan Tech and the first round of the NCAA West Regional to Minnesota Duluth). Like it did two weeks ago in Arizona, Minnesota State failed to extend or hold on to a one-goal lead in the third period. But instead of losing or tying like it did in Arizona, MSU found a way to win.

2. End of the sophomore slump? Jake Jaremko and Reggie Lutz each had a goal and an assist and played big-time minutes, coach Mike Hastings said. The Mavericks have to hope that remains a trend for the second half of the conference season. Jaremko, last season's WCHA rookie of the year with 39 points, had just five before Friday's game. Lutz, who had a 27-point rookie season, had seven. If those two get hot and stay hot, Minnesota State's depth could be tough to overcome. Of course, it also means the Mavericks have to get production from its usual suspects this season, too.

3. Different goalie: When the Mavericks and Bulldogs played each other in Mankato in November, Ferris State had freshman Roni Salmenkangas in net, and he gave up 11 of MSU's 12 goals (the other was an empty-netter). On Friday, junior Justin Kapelmaster was in goal, and he stopped 38 of 41 shots, including all 26 he faced in the second and third periods, to allow the Bulldogs to get themselves back in the game after being down 2-0 in the first period. The game was the third consecutive overtime game and sixth of the season for Ferris State.

Read my gamer here.

Around the WCHA: Lake Superior State 7, Alabama Huntsville 2 ... Michigan Tech 2, Bowling Green 0 ... Bemidji State 3, Alaska 0 ... Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage (late)

Friday Morning Skate

Minnesota State is back on the road, going to Ferris State for a WCHA series. The Mavericks will have head coach Mike Hastings back behind the bench for the first time since early December, having missed six games while with the U.S.'s World Junior team.

College Hockey News this week did a Q&A with Hastings about his experience at the WJC.

The Mavericks are hoping to improve their play away from Mankato, where they are 5-5-1. That's one of the five things to know about this weekend's series in the Free Press' College Hockey Gameday story.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are coming off a pair of series splits, including two overtime games at Alabama Huntsville last weekend.

Going around the WCHA ...

Bowling Green at Michigan Tech: Big series in Houghton between the second- and fourth-place teams in the WCHA. With the league season at the halfway mark, the Falcons are trying to maintain their good position and improve in order to keep it. The Huskies, meanwhile, are hoping to snap a three-game losing streak that includes games last weekend at Minnesota State.

Alaska at Bemidji State: The Beavers are back at home, fresh off an impressive split at Bowling Green, while the Nanooks are on the road for the first time since late November after going 2-4-0 on its most-recent home stand.

Alabama Huntsville at Lake Superior State: The Lakers haven't been at home for a regular-season game since Dec. 1 but they've been doing just fine since, going 6-0-0 away from Sault Ste. Marie. This weekend, they'll face the Chargers, who have three of their four wins on the road.

Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage: The Wildcats have put themselves in the WCHA race by winning four games in a row and five of their last six. They're on the road against the Seawolves, who have just two victories this season. USCHO has a feature on NMU goaltender Atte Tolvanen.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Mavericks 4, Huskies 2

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Back on track: Mike Hastings will return to Mankato in the next couple of days with a silver medal from the World Junior Championships (the U.S. lost 3-2 in the gold-medal game on Saturday night). While he was away, the Mavericks got derailed a bit at first, going 0-3-1, but they got back on the tracks with the sweep of Michigan Tech. Hastings will come home to a first-place team that's still undefeated at home (11-0-0) and one that might have some improved pieces, if the play of Walker Duehr (seven points in the last six games) and Jake Jaremko this weekend continues.

2. Save of the game: Dryden McKay appears to have taken on the mantle of the No. 1 goalie right now, getting his fourth straight start. He made 21 saves on Saturday, including two on breakaways (Tech scored on the rebound of the second one). But there was none bigger than the glove saves he made on Seamus Donohue with 37.6 seconds to go in the game. Tech had an extra attacker on the ice to try to tie the game, and Donohue was open in the right circle for a one-timer. "He’s very calm, composed and keeps us in games," associate head coach Todd Knott said. "He gives us a chance to win. Very confident in him right now."

3. Power up: After going 1 for 23 on the power play in their previous five games, the Mavericks scored twice with the man advantage on Saturday. Charlie Gerard's game-winner in chronicled in the game story linked below. Duehr also got some net-front presence and put back a rebound on a first-period PPG, a goal that came 38 seconds after Jaremko's game-opening score. "It was nice to burst the bubble with the power play," Knott said.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Alabama Huntsville 4, Ferris State 3 (OT) ... Lake Superior State at Alaska Anchorage (late) ... Northern Michigan at Alaska (late)

Live: Minnesota State vs. Michigan Tech, Game 2

The Mavericks will go for the sweep tonight when they host the Huskies at 7:07 p.m. Live chat can be found below tonight's lines:

MINNESOTA STATE
22-Gerads, 20-Michaelis, 17-Duehr
23-Rivera, 26-French, 9-Gerard
10-McMahan, 11-Spooner, 12-Coatta
19-Van Os-Shaw, 5-Jaremko, 15-Napravnik
16-Lutz

2-Mackey, 18-Scheid
25-Zmolek, 24-Hookenson
7-Aamodt, 3-McNeely

29-McKay
32-Israelsson
31-Berger

Scratches: Bigelbach, Carroll, Galambos, Schwalbe, Tuomie, Vanko

MICHIGAN TECH
23-Brice, 4-Bellant, 17-Misiak
8-Reitmeier, 20-Smith, 10-Jackson
28-Bliss, 15-Lucchini, 9-Parrottino
29-Broetzman, 8-Steman, 12-Halonen
16-Polglaze

7-Ford, 24-Swoyer
2-Donohue, 22-Rockwell
21-Kiilunen, 19-Gotz

30-Jurusik
35-Beydoun

***


Friday, January 4, 2019

Mavericks 4, Huskies 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Slump busted: The Mavericks got a much-needed win, snapping an 0-3-1 slump with a win over the Huskies, who were leading the WCHA when the night began. As I mention in the game story (link below), they did most of the things they didn't do over that stretch: They had a good start, scoring in the first minute. They extended their lead: Going up 2-0 by the end of the first period and quickly responding when Tech made it 2-1. And they killed off a big third-period penalty. Not taking late penalties and scoring on the power play (they were 0 for 5 but had good chances) are still areas that need to be cleaned up.

2. Up and down for Carroll: Andy Carroll, a freshman defenseman, Northfield native and son of MSU's first women's coach, Todd Carroll, scored his first career goal, skating out of the penalty box to create a 2-on-1 rush with Josh French. French set him up nicely, waiting for the goalie to make his move before passing across to the rookie for the finish and the 2-0 MSU lead. In the third period, though, Carroll was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a check from behind. The Mavericks killed off the penalty though to help preserve the win.

3. Lineup shuffle: With Parker Tuomie out (lower-body injury), the Mavericks lines looked much different than they did the last time the team was home. The top line was Marc Michaelis centering Dallas Gerads and Walker Duehr. Still, the group accounted for two goals and two assists. Duehr had an empty-netter and an assist. Gerads had the big goal to make it 3-1 just 57 seconds after Tech cut the score to 2-1. And Michaelis, assisting on Duehr's goal, recorded point No. 100 for his career.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Bemidji State 1 ... Ferris State 6, Alabama Huntsville 5 (OT) ... Lake Superior State at Alaska Anchorage (late) ... Northern Michigan at Alaska (late)

Live: Minnesota State vs. Michigan Tech

The Mavericks are back home in Mankato where they hope to break a four-game winless streak and leapfrog the first-place Huskies in the WCHA standings. Follow along in the live blog below tonight's lines.

MINNESOTA STATE
22-Gerads, 20-Michaelis, 17-Duehr
23-Rivera, 26-French, 9-Gerard
10-McMahan, 11-Spooner, 12-Coatta
19-Van Os-Shaw, 5-Jaremko, 15-Napravnik
16-Lutz

2-Mackey, 18-Scheid
25-Zmolek, 24-Hookenson
4-Carroll, 3-McNeely

29-McKay
32-Israelsson
31-Berger

Scratches: Aamodt, Bigelbach, Galambos, Schwalbe, Tuomie, Vanko

MICHIGAN TECH
15-Lucchini, 8-Steman, 9-Parrottino
10-Jackson, 20-Smith, 13-Beretta
29-Broetzman, 18-Reitmeier, 12-Halonen
23-Brice, 4-Bellant, 17-Misiak
16-Polglaze

2-Donohue, 22-Rockwell
6-Watson, 21-Kiilunen
7-Ford, 19-Gotz

35-Beydoun
30-Jurusik

***