Saturday, November 18, 2017

Falcons 4, Mavericks 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Don't go back to Splitsville: Well, they did it again. The Mavericks and Falcons split yet another WCHA series. As it's been well-chronicled now, the WCHA's top two teams currently have never swept each other in league play. They've played four games against each other this season with Minnesota State winning the opener of both series and Bowling Green returning the favor in the closer. The Mavericks certainly would have liked to get that first sweep over the Falcons in their home rink. An announced crowd of 4,256 got taken out of the game early by some excellent defensive play by Bowling Green that kept MSU from making the pretty plays they made on Friday.

2. Penalties plague Mavericks: Sure, there were some questionable calls, but Minnesota State put itself in too many tough spots on Saturday. The result was three 5-on-3 power plays goals for the Falcons. One came with 19 seconds left in the second period and another came 54 seconds into the third. Backbreakers. Add to that an interference penalty by Daniel Brickley that wiped out an MSU power play and 5-minute major by the star defenseman with about 7 minutes to play, and any chance for a comeback was crippled. Ironically, coach Mike Hastings said he scratched Nick Rivera because of his two penalties on Friday. That message didn't register with the rest of the team on Saturday. MSU's eight penalties all came in the game's final 21 minutes.

3. Jaremko breaks out: Freshman center Jake Jaremko scored the Mavericks' lone goal, a power-play tally in the final minute of the first period. That gave him four points for the weekend after his one-goal, two-assist game on Friday. He now has three goals and nine assist for 12 points. "Jake Jaremko has taken some big steps; he really has," Hastings said. "I like the direction that he's moving. He's playing with pace and playing with poise. He's making plays. He's making the players around him better."

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Michigan State 3, Ferris State 1 ... Alabama Huntsville 5, Lake Superior State 3 ... Michigan Tech at Alaska Anchorage (late) ... Northern Michigan at Alaska (late)

Live: MSU vs. Bowling Green, Game 2

Minnesota State has never swept Bowling Green since the two became WCHA foes (and the Falcons have never swept the Mavericks over that time). MSU will try to do just that tonight when the two teams square off at the Verizon Center at 7:07 p.m. The fifth-ranked Mavericks won Friday's game 6-1.

To follow the action, check out the live chat below the lines:

MINNESOTA STATE
20-Michaelis, 15-Suess, 10-Knutson
16-Lutz, 5-Jaremko, 12-Coatta
6-Tuomie, 26-French, 19-McClure
22-Gerads, 11-Spooner, 17-Duehr

8-Brickley, 3-McNeely
2-Mackey, 18-Scheid
25-Zmolek, 24-Hookenson

37-LaCouvee
39-Pawloski
29-Nelson

Scratches: Bigelbach, Cooper, Gerard, Lewis, Rivera, Schwalbe, Vanko

BOWLING GREEN
22-L. Craggs, 6-McLain, 29-Schilling
25-S. Craggs, 18-D'Andrea, 26-Meier
13-Baylis, 20-Ford, 8-LeTourneau
28-Kruse, 10-Johnson, 16-Wright

23-Rauhauser, 4-McDonald
5-Smith, 3-Musser
14-Wells, 24-Coffman

35-Bednard
31-Dop


Friday, November 17, 2017

Mavericks 6, Falcons 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Early survival: I focused mainly on the scoring for my game story (linked below), but it's worth noting the the first couple minutes of the game were all Bowling Green. They had the Mavericks pinned in their own end for a long while, and it seemed it might be a long night for the home team. Add to that a stretch of four penalty kills in a row, and it seemed, as coach Mike Hastings said, "You get concerned your burning the tank." While those moments might have taken their toll on the top line and a couple of defensemen, others came through in the clutch. Brad McClure, who's been a bit snakebite, scored the first goal, and he could have had more, putting six pucks on goal.

2. Still winning: Another player who came through early for Minnesota State was goalie Connor LaCouvee. That might not be something you think of too much in a 6-1 game. However, he stopped 24 of 25 shots, including 11 of 11 in the first period and 5 of 6 on the penalty kill. The senior/grad transfer is now 7-0-0 as a Maverick. "Connor was good," Hastings said. "He gave us an opportunity to get our feet underneath us."

3. Power hungry: Minnesota State finished 3 for 5 on the power play, scoring on their first three times with the man advantage. Two of the goals were momentum-turners, with McClure's staring the scoring at 3:57 after that early energy by the Falcons, and the first of two Ian Scheid PPGs coming after Bowling Green made it 2-1 midway through the second period. Scheid's first goal was a beauty of a shot. He picked the upper-right corner from the high slot. The second was a tap-in off a nice feed from Zeb Knutson. "He’s got a real good hockey head," Hastings said of Scheid, a sophomore defenseman. "He donesn’t panic. That poise, I wish that was something you could go buy off a shelf and give to people, but you can’t."

Read my gamer here.

Around the WCHA: Michigan State 3, Ferris State 2 (OT) ... Lake Superior State 3, Alabama Huntsville 1 ... Alaska Anchorage 1, Michigan Tech 1 (UAA wins shootout) ... Northern Michigan 5, Alaska 3

Live: Minnesota State vs. Bowling Green

The No. 5 Mavericks host Bowling Green in what should be an entertaining series between the top two teams in the WCHA. Live updates/chat can be found below tonight's lines.

MINNESOTA STATE
20-Michaelis, 15-Suess, 10-Knutson
16-Lutz, 5-Jaremko, 12-Coatta
6-Tuomie, 26-French, 19-McClure
23-Rivera, 11-Spooner, 17-Duehr

8-Brickley, 3-McNeely
2-Mackey, 18-Scheid
25-Zmolek, 24-Hookenson

37-LaCouvee
39-Pawloski
29-Nelson

Scratches: Bigelbach, Cooper, Gerads, Gerard, Lewis, Schwalbe, Vanko

BOWLING GREEN
22-L. Craggs, 6-McLain, 29-Schilling
28-Kruse, 10-Johnson, 27-McKeown
25-S. Craggs, 18-D'Andrea, 26-Meier
13-Baylis, 20-Ford, 16-Wright

23-Rauhauser, 4-McDonald
5-Smith, 3-Musser
14-Wells, 24-Coffman

31-Dop
35-Bednard



Friday Morning Skate

The well-traveled Mavericks are back home after another two weeks on the road, and it's another big series at the Verizon Center. Minnesota State, ranked No. 5 and in first place in the WCHA, will take on unranked (but receiving votes) and second-place Bowling Green tonight and Saturday night.

The Mavericks played one of their most-exciting games in recent memory on Saturday at Bemidji State, and sophomore forward Marc Michaelis was the star of the weekend. Read more about him (and one of his most stunning plays of the series) here. I'm sure Mankato fans are hoping he'll put on a similar show this weekend.

This is your regular reminder that Minnesota State and Bowling Green have never swept each other in conference play, so a betting person would predict yet another split. Looking for for more information before making your prediction, check out the College Hockey Gameday.

Including their win over MSU on Oct. 21, the Falcons have not lost (other than in a shootout) in their last seven games, going 4-0-3. The three ties include two shootout wins and one loss. One impressive thing about Bowling Green this season has been the play of their freshmen, who are featured in a WCHA story here.

Read more previews from the Toledo blade here and BGSUHockey.com here.

Going around the WCHA ...

Michigan Tech at Alaska Anchorage: The Huskies begin a two-weekend trip to Alaska with a series against the Seawolves. Tech has just one win in its last seven games and needs some success on this trip to keep its position in the upper half of the standings. UAA has just one win this season but got two points with a tie/shootout win its last game at Alabama Huntsville. The Seawolves are eager to be back home after five games away.

Northern Michigan at Alaska: The No. 20 Wildcats are also in Alaska, just for one weekend though, to play the Nanooks. NMU is feeling good after splits the last two weekends with Minnesota State and rival Michigan Tech. Alaska is also glad to be home for a couple of weeks after getting swept at Ferris State last week.

Lake Superior State at Alabama Huntsville: The Lakers are ending a tough stretch of their schedule that features eight of 10 games on the road with a trip to face the Chargers. They're also looking for their first road win of the season. UAH, meanwhile, started the year with eight road games and began a six-game homestead last week, getting four points against Anchorage.

Ferris State and Michigan State will play a home and home nonconference series starting tonight at East Lansing. The Bulldogs have won three straight, including a game at Michigan. Some more out-of-league victories could be a great help — to everyone in the conference.

Read USCHO's weekly WCHA column here. More notes on the WCHA weekend can be found here.

And finally, ICYMI, here's a hilarious video of former NHL player Ryan Whitney talking about a rather one-sided fight he was on the wrong end of with Mavericks alum and current student-assistant Tim Jackman. WARNING: NSFW due to language!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Michaelis, Brickley earn WCHA honors

As expected, Minnesota State sophomore forward Marc Michaelis earned the WCHA's Offensive Player of the Week Award after his six-point weekend at Bemidji State. Teammate Daniel Brickley was also honored by the league, as the junior defenseman was named Defensive Player of the Week.

Michaelis had five goals and an assist in the series, including a hat trick on Friday. He had two short-handed goals and both game-winners. His six points doubled his total from MSU's first nine games. He now has 12 points (7-5).

Brickley had a goal and two assists and was plus-4 on Saturday. On Friday his plus-minus was even and he had no points. In the series he had six shots on goal and blocked four shots. He now has 11 points this season.

The WCHA's other players of the week were Ferris State goalie Justin Kapelmaster (goaltender of the week), who won two games against Alaska, stopping 53 of 57 shots, and Bowling Green freshman forward Max Johnson (rookie of the week), who had two goals and an assist in a five-point weekend over Lake Superior State.

Mavericks move up to 5th

Following its sweep at Bemidji State over the weekend, a series in which it scored 13 goals (and gave up eight), Minnesota State moved up to No. 5 in the newest U.S. College Hockey Online poll. The Mavericks had been No. 10. They will host unranked-but-receiving-votes Bowling Green on Friday and Saturday. In the USA Today/USA Hockey rankings, Minnesota State moved up to No. 8 from No. 11.

USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll
Minneapolis, Minn./November 13, 2017

   Team             (First Place)    Record   Pts  Last Week
 1 Denver                    (43)    6- 2-2   992     3
 2 St. Cloud State           ( 1)    7- 2-0   914     1
 3 North Dakota              ( 2)    7- 2-3   913     2
 4 Notre Dame                        8- 3-1   809     6
 5 Minnesota State                   8- 3-0   710    10
 6 Cornell                   ( 4)    6- 0-0   709    14
 7 Minnesota                         7- 4-1   699     4
 8 Clarkson                          8- 3-1   670    11
 9 Wisconsin                         7- 5-1   542     7
10 Providence                        6- 4-0   507     8
11 New Hampshire                     6- 3-1   434     9
12 Northeastern                      6- 3-1   432    13
13 Harvard                           2- 3-0   422     5
14 Minnesota Duluth                  5- 5-2   327    12
15 Western Michigan                  6- 4-1   259    18
16 Ohio State                        6- 3-3   256    17
17 Michigan                          6- 3-1   230    NR
18 Boston University                 5- 6-1   208    15
19 Colgate                           6- 2-4   165    NR
20 Northern Michigan                 6- 4-0    74    20

Others receiving votes: Boston College 61, Colorado College
49, Omaha 28, UMass Lowell 19, Bowling Green 17, Army 12,
Penn State 10, Quinnipiac 10, Union 7, Yale 6, Niagara 4,
Bemidji State 2, RIT 2, Princeton 1.