Thanks for all of the questions. There were a lot of goaltending questions, so let's start with those.
What are the chances that if things continue at the current pace that the "Zach-a-ri-as" chants will turn into "Hobey Baker" chants? What will it take for Zacharias to get Hobey consideration and would the MSU athletic department get involved in a marketing campaign? It's early, of course, but I imagine fans will jump on the bandwagon if Zacharias can keep up his impressive numbers (.934 SV%, 1.65 GAA). In general, however, goalies don't get a lot of Hobey love. Only two goalies have won in the award's 27-year history, Michigan State's Ryan Miller in 2001 and Minnesota's Robb Stauber in 1988. Miller had a 1.32 and a .950 and he won 31 games that season. Although it's not a career award, Miller also posted 18 shutouts at the other MSU. Wisconsin's Brian Elliott didn't win in 2006 despite leading the nation with 1.55, .938 and 27 wins, including the national title (although the voting is done before the Frozen Four). Denver defenseman Matt Carle got the trophy that year. If Zacharias can keep going at the current pace and win along the way, people will start to take notice. Right now, he's still flying below guys like Colorado College's Richard Bachman, Denver's Peter Mannino and Miami's Jeff Zatkoff. As for Minnesota State's marketing efforts, they'll push Zacharias if they think he's a candidate, just as they did Grant Stevenson and Shane Joseph in 2003.
Will we see Dan Tormey back in goal during this five-game nonconference stretch? What about Austin Lee? I wouldn't be surprised to see Tormey back in net in the near future, especially since MSU plays three games between Friday and Tuesday. While Zacharias clearly has played himself into the No. 1 spot, the Mavericks probably don't want to play him every game and wear him down. Zacharias is starting Friday at Bemidji State. We'll see what happens from there. As for Lee, both he and the team want this to be a redshirt season. I don't see him playing this season unless there's an injury or two.
Will Andrew Sackrison return to the lineup this weekend? Yes. So will Channing Boe.
What's up with Matt Tyree? This nonconference stretch might be a chance to see Tyree get back in the lineup as well. I haven't heard one way or another, though. He hasn't played since the second night at Alabama-Huntsville. He scored the game-winning goal in that game. Consider this about Tyree: two career goals as a Maverick, two GWGs.
Is there going to be any action taken against those who committed "dumb" penalties Saturday? It looks like the only lineup changes will be Sackrison for Gunderson and Boe for Canzanello. Gunderson did get called for cross-checking, but I think the Mavericks simply need to get Sackrison back on the ice after sitting him for three games. You may disagree, but I don't think I'd classify any of the penalties that night as dumb. The coaches draw a distinction between hard, aggressive, borderline plays and dumb, selfish ones.
Are there any Mavericks who could be drafted? Are there any Mavericks that might leave early? Ben Youds, I believe, is draft eligible, and Austin Lee, who was under consideration last year, might have another year. I'm not sure if we'll see anyone get taken next summer. Rylan Galiardi is too old, as is Kurt Davis. I think this might be a safe year for the Mavericks for early departures, too. Davis is playing great, but I don't know if the NHL's going to target a 5-foot-9, 175-pound defenseman.
What are the school's options for preseason games? Troy Jutting said he tried to get games for that first weekend of the season but wasn't able to this year. Hindsight is 20-20, of course, and given how the Mavericks started, an exhibition game or an early nonconference game might have done them some good. Those exhibitions are a mixed bag, in my opinion. I've seen the Mavericks lose and take heat and I've seen them win 9-0 and not learn much about themselves. In an ideal world, they would have brought a nonconference team to Mankato for opening weekend, especially with the killer road tour that was to follow.
What was your take on the Alltel Center crowds? Were there many Wisconsin fans? The student sections were great -- full and lively all weekend. And the announced attendance figures of 4,121 and 4,645 were certainly impressive. There were a fair amount of red shirts there but not as many as years past. Perhaps forecasts of poor weather kept them behind state lines.
Do you think the Mankato area will be producing Division I-caliber prep players soon? How good a PR boost would it be for the Mavericks to have a local tie? The Mankato West hockey team is very good, and Scarlets senior Corey Leivermann played well for the high school elite league this fall. Leivermann has D-I ambitions, so I'm curious to see what happens from here. He'll probably have to play junior hockey. Troy Jutting has said he'd love to have a Mankato kid on the team, but I don't think he just wants to have one to have one. He wants someone who can and will play. A local tie will sell a few tickets but not as many as winning games every night does.