Saturday, February 28, 2009

Badgers 3, Mavericks 3 - OT final

Rylan Galiardi got the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the third period. Each team had three shots on goal in overtime.
That score sounds familiar, eh? Same as last night. Just like last night, Wisconsin scored three goals in the second period.

The Mavericks took a 2-0 lead on a nice play by its top line that finished with a Trevor Bruess goal. Mouillierat made the pass, and Geoff Irwin charged hard to get the puck up the ice.

But the Badgers scored three goals in a span of 4:12, including two by Michael Davies. Tom Gorowsky gave them the lead with a blast from the point after a clean faceoff win by Derek Stepan.

Shots were 13-13 in the period and both goalies made big saves in the last minute or so.
Kael Mouillierat's power-play goal a 12:47 was the period's lone goal on the power play. Assists from Louwerse (a nice pass across the goal-mouth to Mouillierat open at the right post) and Berge (his 22nd of the year).

Shots are 9-8 in favor of Wisconsin. The second period will begin 4x4.

Mavericks, Badgers - Part II

Can tonight get any more exciting than last night? We'll find out in about an hour. Here are tonight's lines:




Looks like Jokinen is out in favor of Gaulrapp on the fourth line and Canzanello is in for Cooper on the blue line.




Friday, February 27, 2009

Ain't that a kick? (updated)

Read The Free Press story here.
Read the Wisconsin State Journal account here and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story here.


It was the kind of game that sportswriters should love to write about. But when you combine a comeback with controversy with overtime and something called a deadline, it can cause you to lose your hair. Fortunately for me, there's not much hair to lose.

Here's a quick rundown of tonight's third period and overtime:

MSU had a chance to tie the game early in the period but Trevor Bruess' penalty shot was stopped by Shane Connelly.

With 5:33 to go in the period, it appeared that Tom Gorowsky gave Wisconsin a 4-2 lead. However, after going to the video review, referees Todd Anderson and Pete Freesma ruled that Gorowsky kicked the puck behind goalie Mike Zacharias.

Less than a minute later, the Mavericks were on the power play and ran it beautifully. Kael Mouillierat tied the game with a snipe from the right circle over Connelly's glove.

In overtime, Andy Sackrison makes a big body check on Brendan Smith, knocking the defenseman off the puck and moving the puck up to Jerad Stewart for a 2-on-1 rush with Zach Harrison. Stewart keeps it himself and scores the game-winning goal with 1:46 to go.


More comments later or you can check out Saturday's edition of The Free Press.

Mavericks 4, Badgers 3, overtime

Jerad Stewart scored with 1:46 left in overtime to complete the comeback. ... More later.
It was a wild second period, with the Badgers scoring three power-play goals and MSU getting a 4x4 goal by Jason Wiley and a much-needed goal by Trevor Bruess with 19.1 seconds to go. Wisconsin outshot MSU 21-6 in the period. And the Mavericks' penalty problems continue as Kael Mouillierat was called for high-sticking at the buzzer, allowing the Badgers to start the third period on the power play again.
We're scoreless through one. Minnesota State's been the speedier of the two teams and has outshot Wisconsin 11-5. The Badgers will start the second period with 1:56 of power play after Rylan Galiardi took a bad tripping penalty at center ice in the closing seconds of the period.

Back in 'The Cave'

It's been nearly a month since MSU has had a home game. They've only played four times since then, going 1-2-1. Here are tonight's lines:




Healthy scratches: Canzanello, Gaulrapp, Schiller




Tonight's referees: Todd Anderson, Pete Freesma. Linesmen: Chris Olsen, Jeff Schultz

Friday-morning reading

Minnesota State has a home game for the first time since Jan. 30 and will host No. 16 Wisconsin tonight at the Alltel Center. Here is The Free Press' preview. The Mavericks' Geoff Irwin has been red hot of late, averaging more than a point per game since 2009 began.

As for the Badgers, they have had their ups and downs this season. Now, they're getting some help from a sports psycologist. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has the only player in the WCHA who has more penalty minutes than MSU's Trevor Bruess, and that's junior John Mitchell. Here is the Wisconsin State Journal's preview.

Around the rest of the WCHA ...

Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota: The Duluth News-Tribune takes a look at the Bulldogs-Gophers rivalry, but the Gophers are closing down a strange season and thinking more about avoiding back-to-back lower-division WCHA finshes.

St. Cloud State at Denver: The Huskies are counting on the experience and savvy of defenseman Dave Carlisle to hold off the Pioneers. Some in Denver may be calculating what it will take over their last three games to win the McNaughton Cup, but coach George Gwozecky says that's not the goal.

Colorado College at North Dakota: This is a Saturday-Sunday series, but the Grand Forks Herald takes a look at one player who has emerged during yet another great second-half run -- forward Jake Marto. The Colorado Springs Gazette, meanwhile, breaks down this season's tight WCHA race.

Michigan Tech is idle this week, while Alaska-Anchorage plays a nonconference series against rival Alaska. Tech is locked into 10th place, but the Seawolves are one point behind Minnesota State and certainly will be rooting for Wisconsin this weekend.

Here are previews from Inside College Hockey, USCHO and This is the WCHA.

On the INCH preview/notebook, be sure to read Jess Myers' goodbye to the Rocky Mountain News. Today, the RMN published its last edition. It's another dark day in what's been a dark year for the newspaper industry. As I sit here and update my blog, trying to do my best keep up with the direction "print" journalism has taken, I'm saddened by what's happened to newspapers. If you get a second, check out today's RMN front pages and their website.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

To the Mav cave!

During his news conference this week, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves was asked about the Badgers' record (4-8-2) at Mankato's Alltel Center, here's what he said:

"Well I think if you went and looked at a lot of teams, they don’t play well there. It’s a tough place to play. It’s, you know, that crowd, it reminds me of the junior hockey league. You know, they get rowdy. They sing that European song, and they get into it. I know as a coach I can’t see the game very well from the bench. I feel like I’m tucked in this bunker behind the bench and can’t see what’s going on. And they play hard. It’s a hard place to play in. They have a good team. They play hard and physical and it’s a dark building and they, you know, so it’s like playing in a cave a little bit. But that’s the kind of atmosphere they want, and it’s a great, it’s a great test for your team. I think it’s the type of weekend we need right now to rebound. We know what we’re getting ourselves in for, and we need to get up and get ready to play."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mavericks 2, Mavericks 2, OT

UNO won in a shootout, but it goes down as a 2-2 tie.

Mavericks x2 (third-period update)

Going to overtime for the first time since Thanksgiving weekend. Tomas Klempa tied the game with 5:58 remaining in the third period. In the final two minutes of regulation, MSU had to kill off a 5x3 penalty with Ben Youds and Geoff Irwin in the box. After killing that, Zach Harrison got stopped on a short-handed breakaway.
Minnesota State took a 2-1 lead at the 15:50 mark of the second period when Geoff Irwin scored a power-play goal from Mick Berge. Irwin has been on a hot streak and increased his point-scoring streak to six games.
It's 1-1 after the first period. Omaha got on the board first when Rich Purslow scored on a mini-breakaway at 13:30. MSU tied the game with 75 seconds remaining in the period when freshman Adam Mueller scored a power-play goal. Zach Harrison and Blake Friesen assisted.
Here are MSU's lines for tonight:




On the pregame radio show, coach Troy Jutting said Kael Mouillierat will be back in the lineup on Friday night.

Bull market

I know I'm a little late getting a new poll up. After some thought, I've decided to put up three. Check for them later today. Here's the deal: The Mavericks are closing out their 10th season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Who have been their best players in that span? Let's find out with a PucKato all-decade team. There will be polls for forwards (pick three), defensemen (pick two) and goaltenders (pick one) up today. Am I missing anyone obvious? If you want to vote other, please go back to this thread and comment on who you would add. Should be fun.

Mavs. vs. Mavs

PucKato did not make the trip to Omaha but will try to give you updates throughout the day and after the game.

The Mavericks have a chance to reclaim the Spirit of the Maverick Trophy. Here is the Free Press' preview. Some highlights: Kael Mouillierat might be out tonight with an injury. MSU is already missing Trevor Bruess (one-game suspension) and Channing Boe (broken leg), Troy Jutting is putting out what I believe is his youngest lineup of the season with seven freshman: forwards Joe Schiller, Tyler Thompson, Justin Jokinen, Adam Mueller and Mike Louwerse and defensemen Cameron Cooper and Baylor Dieter.

Minnesota State has two more series after this game -- Friday and Saturday at home against Wisconsin, then a home-and-home with St. Cloud State -- but this is the regular-season finale for Omaha, which has not won since Jan. 9, a winless streak of 13 games (0-9-4). Read more about the red Mavericks here.

New commitments

According to Chris Heisenberg's recruiting site, Minnesota State got two new commitments recently: goaltender Phil Cook from Fairbanks of the North American Hockey League and forward Matt Leitner of Fargo of the United States Hockey League.

Cook will round out the Mavericks' stable of goaltenders, which will include redshirt freshman Austin Lee and incoming recruit Kevin Murdock.

Leitner's addition will be interesting. Unless he's coming to Mankato later, he is one of four forwards coming in. Currently, MSU will lose just one forward -- senior Mick Berge -- to graduation, although it doesn't seem likely that Brett Peterson, who never played and had back surgery over the holidays, will be on next season's roster. Does this mean others aren't coming back?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday-morning reading

The Mavericks are idle this weekend, but they're making news. Here's The Free Press' account of the Trevor Bruess suspension.

The WCHA men's and women's leagues also announced their 2008-09 scholar athletes, which included the following Mavericks: Ashley Bliskowski, Trevor Breuss, Kala Buganski; Nick Canzanello, Ida Clark, Kristi Ellis, Rylan Galiardi, Jenna Hewitt, Austin Lee, Kathleen Rosso, Andrew Sackrison, Holly Snyder, Nina Tikkinen, Dan Tormey, Amy Udvig and Ashley Young.

Going around the WCHA ...

Minnesota plays at Colorado College. The Gophers' Jay Barriball is back to his point-per-game pace, while senior Justin Bostrom says Minnesota needs to play with some urgency. The Colorado Springs Gazette, meanwhile, looks at a couple of ties between the two programs: the eight Minnesotans on the Tigers' roster and the health of Gophers coach Don Lucia who was CC's coach for six seasons.

Wisconsin hosts Denver, and DU standout freshman Patrick Wiercioch is going to the Kohl Center for the first time since decommitting to the Badgers to joing the Pioneers. Here's The Wisconsin State Journal's preview. The Badgers, like a lot of teams right now are preaching about doing the little things it takes to win, and coach Mike Eaves keeps track of those details.

Minnesota Duluth is at Michigan Tech. Here's the Duluth News Tribune preview. Tech has locked up 10th place in the WCHA standings.

North Dakota can do MSU a favor by keeping Alaska-Anchorage in ninth place. It might not be easy for the Sioux, though, as they have won just one of their last five games in Anchorage. The Seawolves, though, have not had great crowds at Sullivan Arena. In fact, they're on pace for a 20-year low in average attendance.

Here are conference previews by INCH and USCHO.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bruess suspended one game

Minnesota State suspended junior forward Trevor Bruess for one game Thursday for, according to a WCHA press release, recent in-game incidents the league feels are detrimental to the game.

Bruess will miss Tuesday's nonconference game against Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks do not play this weekend.

Bruess was called for three penalties in Friday's game at North Dakota, including minors for roughing, boarding and high sticking. He was also involved in a collision Saturday that resulted in a broken leg for Sioux defenseman Derrick LaPoint. No penalty was called on the play.

"We need Trevor to understand that he needs to make every possible effort to avoid these types of incidents and want to emphasize to him that he is responsible for his actions on the ice," WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod said. "We hope he will use this as both an educational experience and as a time to reflect on his play."

In MSU's release, coach Troy Jutting said, "A hockey player is responsible for his actions. Hockey's a physical game and Trevor's a physical player, but you have to play under control and with respect to your opponents."

Bruess has met with MSU athletic director Kevin Buisman and Jutting and will be required to meet WCHA supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd for a one-on-one session.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not a record?

I was afraid this might happen. ...

Just when you start laying claim to old records the really old ones start to come out of the woodwork. Just days after Mankato East/Loyola's Dan Billiar found out he tied John Mayasich's 58-year-old state goal-scoring record, along comes this.

I had to break the news to Billiar today but he shrugged it off.

Monday, February 16, 2009

East/Loyola player ties state record

Last week, when Mankato East/Loyola boys hockey player Dan Billiar scored seven goals, he tied a state record for goals in a game during a 9-4 win over Austin.

The record actually ahs been tied three times this season, but before that, no boy had hit seven goals in a game since the legendary John Mayasich of Eveleth did it in the state tournament in 1951.

Read more about it here.

All the way out

Minnesota State fell all the way out of the poll for the first time this season today. Although the Mavericks, who reached as high as 10th place in the poll early this season, have been out of the top 20 for the last seven weeks, but they had received votes each week up until today. Here is the poll (WCHA teams in bold): College Sports Division I Men's Poll
1. Boston University (44)
2. Notre Dame (6)
3. Michigan
4. Northeastern
5. Miami
6. Vermont
7. Yale
8. Denver
9. North Dakota
10. Princeton
11. Cornell
12. New Hampshire
13. Wisconsin
14. Minnesota
15. Minnesota Duluth
16. Ohio State
17. Boston College
18. Colorado College
19. St. Cloud State
20. St. Lawrence
Others receiving votes: Dartmouth, UMass-Lowell, RIT, Air Force, Nebraska-Omaha, Alaska, Colgate, UMass, Alaska-Anchorage

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Brownlee to play in Mankato

One-time MSU assistant captain Chad Brownlee is returning to Mankato this week, but he's not playing hockey. Instead, he'll be playing music at The Loose Moose Saloon from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Cost is $10.

Brownlee, who played for the Mavericks from 2003-07 has launched his career as a musician. He will be playing with Mankato guitar player Steve Murphy.

You here some of his music here.

Sioux defenseman out for season

North Dakota sophomore defenseman Derrick LaPoint is indeed out for the rest of the season with two broken bones in his lower leg, according to the Grand Forks Herald. You can read the story here. LaPoint suffered the injury in the first period Saturday during a collision with the Mavericks' Trevor Bruess along the boards behind the UND net.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mavs-Sioux, Game 2 postmortem

Finishing up here at "The Ralph" ...

The Mavericks put North Dakota on the power play seven times in the second and third periods and 10 for the night. They scored a short-handed goal to take a 3-2 lead midway through the final frame, but that was no reason to keep playing with fire. Brian Kilburg's interference penalty led to Chris VandeVeld's game-tying goal at 13:40. With the teams playing 4x4 late in the game, Jason Gregoire scored the game-winning goal, finishing off an impressive individual effort by defenseman and UND leading scorer Chay Genoway.

The Mavericks will spend the idle weekend in eighth place in the WCHA standings. They're one point ahead of Alaska-Anchorage, which hosts North Dakota next weekend.

Some reaction:

Kael Mouillierat, who had three assists: “We were undisciplined; that can’t happen this time of year. We should know by now. The penalties we took were lazy penalties – holding, hooking, high-sticking. Those are the toughest kinds of penalties to kill off, and it bit us in the behind tonight."

Troy Jutting, Mavericks coach: “I thought that the kids competed hard all night. We played extremely hard, with a lot of heart and intensity. We took some dumb penalties, though. I don’t know, I guess (North Dakota) only took two over the last 2 1/2 periods.

Power-play opportunities were 10-4 in favor of UND.

Jutting on MSU winger Geoff Irwin, who had two goals and three for the weekend: "Geoff had a great weekend. He played 120 minutes of hockey."

Mouillierat: "We definitely played hard. You could tell we wanted it really bad. We're a desperate hockey team right now."

Mouillierat on letting the lead slip away: “If we’re the team we want to be, we gotta be able to shut teams down at the end of games."

Sioux coach Dave Hakstol: “There were all kinds of ups and downs in that hockey game. Physically, maybe it wasn’t our best game, but mentally, that was as good as any game we’ve had this year.”

Sioux 4, Mavs 3

Mavericks fall 4-3.
Just saw a screen grab of Derrick LaPoint's ankle. If it isn't broken, he's made of rubber because it looks nasty. Looks like Bruess' skate pins LaPoint's skate against the bottom of the boards.

0:00-The Mavericks' record when trailing after two periods is 1-10-1 ... their lone win in that situation was at Michigan Tech; they were behind 1-0 and ended up winning in overtime.
0:53-Geoff Irwin wants to end that trend and scores at the right post, backhanding in his own rebound ... now they're reviewing it
1:02-It's a goal ... Irwin from Mouillierat ... 2-2
1:34-UND penalty ... Genoway (interference) ... let's just say that that call was very, uh, October-like
2:10-There was just a marriage proposal on the jumbotron ... she said yes ... is there anything more romantic than a North Dakota hockey game on Valentine's Day?
3:50-Penalty over
6:55-It's pretty quiet in here right now -- until they play music, that is.
8:52-MSU penalty ... Friesen (hooking)
10:47-MSU goal, another shorty, the second of the series, fifth against UND this season and 10th of the year ... Bruess from Mouillierat and Youds. ... Mouillierat blocked a shot ... 3-2, MSU
12:58-Mouillierat has three assists tonight
12:58-MSU penalty ... Kilburg (inteference)
13:40-UND ties it on a back-door play VandeVelde from Martens and Duncan ... 3-3
17:08-UND takes back the lead during 4x4 play Gregoire puts back the rebound of a Genoway shot on a rush ... 4-3

Mavs-Sioux, semi-live blog (second period)

0:00-And we're underway
1:02-MSU penalty ... Galiardi (holding)
1:53-UND PP goal ... Duncan goes upstairs on Zacharias from the right circle, the place where he earned his Hobey two years ago ... 2-1, UND
2:05-MSU penalty ... Cooper (roughing) ... here we go again
3:07-UND penalty ... Gregoire (interference)
5:20-Penalties are over ... how 'bout a little 5x5 for awhile, eh?
9:58-Nearly 5 minutes of 5x5 ... now MSU's Sackrison goes for tripping
12:43-Penalty over, but the Mavericks have to be tired, as the puck never left their zone
13:13-Zacharias clobbered in a pile making a save, losing his helmet
13:22-MSU rush ends with a pile and the puck in the net ... MSU players are celebrating but the referee is saying no goal ... it's under review
13:22-No goal ... I don't think the puck ever went in; not sure what the Mavericks saw
14:20-Another Sioux shot off the pipe ... Frattin again
15:40-MSU penalty ... Galiardi (high sticking) ... his third of the night
18:00-MSU kills off the penalty
20:00-Period over ... UND outshot MSU 16-9 in the period

Mavs-Sioux, semi-live blog (first period)

0:00-MSU starters ... Zacharias, Davis, Kilburg, Gaulrapp, Stewart, Harrison; UND starters ... Eidness, LaPoint, Marto, Trupp, Frattin, VandeVelde ... before they announced the Sioux starters, they showed a cool video of last night's highlights on the big screen above center ice
2:55-First stoppage ... lots of up-and-down action so far
3:34-MSU penalty ... Zacharias made a great save on Frattin during the delayed penalty ... Gaulrapp goes to the box for holding
5:34-Penalty over ... Mouillierat just misses a pass from Bruess on a 2-on-1 short-handed rush
9:00-The Sioux are doing a good job keeping MSU to the outside. As a result, no shots on goal yet for the Mavs
10:30-Frattin fires a slap shot off the crossbar
10:14-MSU has a shot on goal now ... Berge should have had a scoring chance but was tentative and got the puck poked off his stick
10:31-UND player hurt after getting hit by Bruess ... It looks like LaPoint ... they're bringing out a stretcher ... no penalty on Bruess, but UND's Malone is in the box for hooking ... there was a collision between Bruess and LaPoint in the corner, and it looked like something happened with LaPoint's knee or lower leg into the boards ... they're taking him off the ice now ... about a 10-minute delay
11:46-Another UND penalty ... Finley hit on Bruess (cross-checking) ... 45 seconds of 5x3
11:57-MSU goal ... PPG ... Irwin (Davis, Mouillierat) ... Irwin finished off a scramble in front of the goal crease - 1-0, MSU
13:00-The power play ends with a Galiardi penalty for holding ... 4x4
14:20-UND now on power play
15:10-Penalty over
15:14-MSU penalty for too many men on the ice ... weird call as there was a lengthy discussion by the officials first ... Then right away Zacharias made a great save on Genoway who split the D for a mini-breakaway
17:03-Harrison stopped by the goalie on a 2-on-1 short-handed rush with Galiardi
17:30-Penalty over ... but now there's another one as Wiley goes for high sticking. Lots of killing so far, just like last night
18:57-UND scores with 2.4 seconds left on the clock ... Zacharias got a piece of Watkins' slap shot and the puck trickled into the net. ... Youds lost a battle for the puck along the boards to Kozek, who made the pass across to a wide-open Watkins ... 1-1
20:00-shots are 9-6 for UND

Mavs-Sioux, Game 2

A couple of changes for the Mavericks tonight ...

Nick Canzanello and Tyler Thompson are out, and Baylor Dieter and Justin Jokinen are in. Here are tonight's lines:




Scratches: Canzanello, Thompson




The only change for the Sioux is that David Toews is in for Brett Hextall. More to come ...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sioux wear down Mavericks

The postgame theme was that the Mavericks and the Sioux have both had success by playing hard, physical, aggressive and wearing down their opponents. It was just a matter of who could wear down whom first.

“(The Mavericks) are one of the toughest ones in the league to wear down because they’re so much like us,” Sioux senior defenseman Brad Miller said.

The Sioux found a way, though, outshooting MSU 40-26. In the second period, they outshot the Mavericks 21-4 and outchanced them 30-9. They only got one goal in that period, but that made it 3-0 and MSU's goose was cooked.

“They got us back on our heels, no question about it,” MSU coach Troy Jutting said. “I don’t think we every got it back in the second period.”

The Mavericks had to kill off seven power plays, but that included back-to-back kills at the end of the first and the beginning of the second. North Dakota's Brad Miller scored two power-play goals in the final five minutes of the first period, including one with 20 seconds to go.

“What happens is you’re out there with the same four-five guys,” Jutting said. “That wore us out a little bit. It’s tough when you go to the box like that.”

As for the WCHA standings, the Mavericks remained in eighth place but with a one-point lead over Alaska-Anchorage, which tied at Minnesota. MSU is two points behind the Gophers (who have two games in hand) and three behind St. Cloud State, a 3-2 winner over Michigan Tech, and Minnesota Duluth, which was idle.

UND 4, MSU 1 - final

The Mavericks fall 4-1. More later.
0:00-Do the Mavericks have any comeback in them tonight?
0:30-Bruess goes back to the box for high sticking, his third penalty of the game
0:59-And we have a game ... Irwin scores short-handed, keeps it himself on a 2-on-1 with Stewart and fires a wrister by Eidsness, 3-1
3:00-Penalty over
3:15-By the way, that's Irwin's third shorty of the season and the Mavericks' sixth in their last eight games
3:58-UND penalty ... Malone (unsportsmanlike)
6:00-Penalty over
10:28-UND goal ... Kozek deflects Finley's shot from the left point ... 4-1 UND
12:09-MSU PPG taken away said it was kicked in

MSU-UND, semi-live blogging (second period)

0:00-1:33 remaining on Bruess' penalty
1:40-Penalty over
1:47-Bruess goes right back to the box for a hit from behind ... looks like they talked about it and are calling boarding ... I didn't see a replay but looked dangerously close to a check from behind. MSU might have dodged a bullet on that one
4:00-Penalty over
4:39-Shots are 21-11, but MSU has been killing forever
6:05-UND goal ... weird play with puck bouncing all over ... it's under review ... It's a goal ... Zacharias couldn't cover at the right post, the puck went behind the net and a shot from behind the net deflected up in the air, hit the goalie on the shoulder and went in. Or so it appeared, ... VandeVelde gets the goal, 3-0
9:00-MSU still doesn't have a shot on goal this period ... North Dakota's got 13!
9:06-UND penalty ... Watkins (tripping)
10:10-Still no shots, and Zacharias has to make a save on a short-handed 3-on-1
10:32-I was just informed the MSU just had its first shot attempt with 9:40 left in the period ... still nothing on net
11:25-Penalty over
11:38-Zacharias save on Watkins breakaway
12:25-Somewhere in there, MSU finally got a shot on goal ... at the end of the PP
13:57-MSU looks discombobulated ... missing passes, fanning on shots ... now another penalty ... Cooper (interference)
16:07-Penalty over
16:57-By the way, Anchorage just scored to tie Minnesota 2-2 midway through the third period in Minneapolis
18:14-UND penalty ... Zajac (interference) ... The Mavericks need one here
20:00-End of the period ... 3-0 Sioux ... Shots are 34-15, which means 21-4 that period. Yikes!

MSU-UND, semi-live blogging (first period)

We're about 15 minutes away from the drop of puck. Check back for regular updates ...

0:00-Let's play hockey.
0:16-Just like that, MSU takes a penalty ... Harrison (interference)
2:30-Penalty over ... Zacharias made one tough save ... pad save on Hextall below the hash marks
4:09-Mouillierat good chance in front ... some pushing and shoving but no penalties
6:00-Nice play by Zacharias to clear the puck but gets called for icing ... don't see that too often
6:45-MSU just got its third shot on goal. UND has eight
7:49-Bruess not afraid to keep on hitting, despite sitting out the last game
8:52-UND penalty ... Hextall (roughing)
9:38-Another Sioux penalty ... Watkins (boarding) ... MSU has 1:14 5x3
10:46-Berge hits the left pipe
10:55-44 seconds left 5x4
11:40-Penalties over ... no goal ... shots are even 8-8
14:17-Both Eidness and Zacharias make a couple of tricky saves
14:39-MSU penalty ... Gaulrapp (hooking)
15:26-UND ppg ... Miller cut in to the slot and launched a backhanded shot over Zacharias glove hand ... 1-0, Sioux
17:40-Another MSU penalty ... Canzanello (holding)
19:32-Uh oh ... Bruess goes for kneeing ... 5x3 for seven seconds
19:39-Uh oh was right ... Miller scores again, this time a long shot off the faceoff. Worse for the Mavericks ... 2-0, Sioux
19:39-The question now is: Was the 5x3 over? ... Looks like there was .6 seconds left on the 5x3, so Bruess goes back to the box
20:00-That's the end of the period ... 2-0 UND ... Shots on goal 12-11 in favor of the Sioux.

Mavs-Sioux gameday

Greetings from "The Ralph" ...

Here are tonight's lines:




Extra players: Dieter, Jokinen




More to come ...

Poll results

Where will the Mavericks finish in the WCHA standings?

Fifth 31%
Sixth 20%
Seventh 16%
Eighth 13%
Fifth 6%
First 5%
Tenth 4%
Ninth 0%
Second 0%
Third 0%

Friday-morning reading

It's Friday, the 13th. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. The Mavericks and the Sioux. Sounds anything but boring ...

Minnesota State battles North Dakota this weekend and his hoping to shake up the WCHA standings. The Mavericks get Jason Wiley back from injury and will start Mike Zacharias in goal. With just seven games remaining in the regular season, the team is hoping that it has found its groove. Sophomore forward Rylan Galiardi says its easy to talk the talk but MSU has to walk the walk in order to win.

As for the Sioux, they are expecting "an honest effort" from both teams this weekend. Both teams will play a hard-nosed, aggressive style that the Gophers ust don't seem to appreciate (apparently WCHA supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd will attend both games this weekend). Also in the Grand Forks Herald, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod talks about rough play and suspensions and some guy named Frederick answers a few questions about the Mavs.

Both teams are led in scoring by defensemen -- MSU's Kurt Davis and UND's Chay Genoway, the latter of whom was featured in the Herald on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the WCHA, Denver defenseman Patrick Mullen received a one-game suspension for slashing Minnesota Duluth's Mike Connolly at the end of last Saturday's game. He will miss tonight's rivalry game against Colorado College. Other matchups include Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota and Michigan Tech at St. Cloud State.

Here are previews by USCHO, INCH (which declares the Mavs-Sioux series this week's "Great Getaway") and This is the WCHA.

PucKato is getting ready to make the trek to Grand Forks, so that's all for now. Check back later today for a new poll, a pregame post and semi-live blogging during tonight's game.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

MSU recruits among Mr. Hockey finalists

The 10 finalists for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award were announced Wednesday and two of them are future Mavericks: Centennial forward Tyler Pitlick and South St. Paul defenseman Zach Palmquist. Pitlick will come to Mankato next year, while Palmquist will come in 2010 or 2011 according to various reports.

Here is the list with the players' college committments.

Dan DeLisle, Totino Grace (Minnesota Duluth)
Marshall Everson, Edina (Harvard)
Ben Hanowski, Little Falls (St. Cloud State)
Tyler Lapic, New Prague (Wisconsin)
Nick Leddy, Eden Prairie (Minnesota)
Anders Lee, Edina (Notre Dame)
Danny Matson, Holy Angels (North Dakota)
Zach Palmquist, South St. Paul (Minnesota State)
Tyler Pilick, Centennial (Minnesota State)
Max Tardy, Duluth East (Minnesota Duluth)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Poll results

Perhaps the deck was stacked a bit with the Gophers in Mankato last week and what transpired during and after the games, but here are the results of this week's PucKato poll:

Who is Minnesota State's biggest rival?

68 (61%)
North Dakota
16 (14%)
St. Cloud
14 (12%)
1 (0%)
Minnesota Duluth
1 (0%)
3 (2%)
3 (2%)
Bemidji State
4 (3%)

Thanks for playing. Check out the new poll at left.

Friday-morning reading

The Mavericks are off this weekend, but you might want to take in some scoreboard watching and see where they end up in the WCHA standings come late Saturday night. Minnesota State is in seventh place with 20 points, one point behind Minnesota, Colorado College and Duluth, two points ahead of St. Cloud and four ahead of Alaska-Anchorage.

St. Cloud is at Anchorage this weekend, Minnesota hosts Wisconsin, Colorado College is at Michigan Tech and Denver is at Duluth.

Here's what's being said about those other series:

In Anchorage, all eyes are on the possible eruption of volcano Mount Redoubt, perhaps the only thing that can slow down St. Cloud's Ryan Lasch right now. Meanwhile, the Seawolves are getting good production from their defensemen, however, Anchorage hasn't beaten the Huskies in their last eight meetings.

In one of the tightest WCHA races in recent history, Minnesota Duluth will try to move within one point of first-place Denver when it hosts the Pioneers this weekend. With a team-leading 33 points, Denver forward Anthony Maiani has experienced everything but a sophomore slump.

Colorado College is this season's opponent for Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival games and had to make a long trip for the celebration. The Huskies, meanwhile, have healed up a bit after having last weekend off.

Finally, the Gophers will play their biggest rival, the Badgers. Coach Don Lucia didn't take any more veiled shots at MSU but did refer to playing more physical after last week's losses to the Mavericks, telling the Pioneer Press, "The thing we talk about all the time is when you get punched in the nose, you've got to punch 'em back. Standing up to 'em, basically." Lucia was more diplomatic with The Capital Times of Madison, saying that there is "not enough respect between players in how the play the game," and would like to see a return to the way the game was refereed early in the season and, perhaps, extra punishment to players who have multiple major penalties. He added that his players "did some stupid stuff, too, and that's going to be addressed." Another issue for Minnesota is that it has given up six goals in four of its last six games. As for Wisconsin, it is getting solid play from junior Andy Bohmbach.

Here are previews from INCH and USCHO and a column from This is the WCHA.

The WCHA's drinking problem

Here are Minnesota coach Don Lucia's comments this week about his team's various rivalries, specifically those teams that play in arenas that serve alcohol. I'm what, if anything, happened last weekend in Mankato, but it is interesting that he said he talked to the WCHA about the issue on Monday. Thanks to Roman Augustoviz's blog for the quotes.
“Some of the others ones, and I won’t mention names or anything like that, are a little bit more ugly as far as fan treatment and everything else,” Lucia said. “I never felt that way with Wisconsin. Our games have been much more disciplined over the years than maybe years ago.

“I never felt when I go to Kohl Center – I think the fans react in a real positive manner. Ya, once in a while, when you come off the ice, you get a little [grief] from a student. But that’s OK. That’s all fun. But I never felt when I go there, it is over the top and that’s me as a college coach. I have no issue with fans cheering their team and getting involved. I don’t particularly like the vulgarity. ‘F the Gopher’ chant that we hear.

“And I think, to be honest, and I spoke [Monday] about it [to WCHA officials]. I’m probably being more candid, maybe it is the steroids I took this morning than normal. I think as a league – my own personal opinion is, I am not sure if alcohol is served at some of the venues is a real positive in our league.

(Lucia is taking weekly IV steriod treatments for a nerve problem which causes numbness on the left side of his face.)

“I am a purist,” Lucia said. “I don’t have an issue if it is served in club rooms or in suites or in a beer garden. But I have an issue and, I think it lends to problems, when you got guys sitting with beer after beer sitting right behind the visitors’ bench. Nothing good can happen.

“And we have venues that you can literally sit and have cocktails all game long whether it’s hard booze, wine or beer. I think that is where some of the ugliness gets. As a league, I think we have to take a look at that.”

Minnesota plays Wisconsin this weekend.

So what do you think of this? Is alcohol a problem at the Alltel Center? Is it a problem in the WCHA and college hockey? Are visiting teams and their coaches more vulnerable to taunting or worse behavior at a place like Mankato, where they serve drinks, than, say, St. Cloud, where they don't? What would the Alltel Center be like if alcohol wasn't available during MSU games? What say you?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Answering your questions

It's been awhile since we've had a You Want Answers post, so here's a stab at your questions from this week.

Don Lucia can't seem to handle last weekend's sweep and is now complaining about alcohol being served at "certain arenas" and is going to talk to the WCHA about it. Thoughts?
I haven't heard those comments and would be curious to see what he said exactly. However, I'd have a hard time thinking the WCHA would have any say over whether or not a city-run building would be able to serve alcohol during a college sporting event. I think that would have to come down from the NCAA and apply to all sports. I know there are many on-campus arenas and stadiums that do not allow alcohol to be served. Mankato's not the only rink in the league that sells it. North Dakota, Colorado College (Lucia's former team) and Denver also play in rinks that serve beer at least. Was it an issue last weekend? I don't know for sure, except to say that plastic beer bottles were thrown on the ice a couple of times. That's happened from time to time at the Alltel, and it's embarrassing and annoying. There have been some well-documented alcohol problems in Mankato and involving MSU students in recent years that have prompted both the city and the university to make policy changes. Yet in what appears to be the biggest joint venture between the two -- hockey -- alcohol remains a big part of the draw.

Why don't the Mavericks have 3rd jerseys? Many WCHA teams do. Also, why haven't the Mavericks auctioned off game worns in a couple of years? It seems like a good way to make some money for the program. Heck, they could even to a raffle every game for a jersey, like Michigan Tech does. By doing it every game, the tickets are just $1-- not the $5 like when MSU did it at the Gopher series. What's the word on a jumbotron being added to the Alltel Center? The Mavericks have had third jerseys in the past, some pretty good ones, too, in my opinion. The throwback jerseys honoring the 1980 national champions were rock-solid. Last year, MSU got new home and road jerseys, which I also think are great uniforms. I wouldn't be surprised if they added a third next year, although I have no inside information about that. St. Cloud had a retro jersey this year and held a silent auction for them with a minimum $100 bid to raise money for the athletic department. ... As for the jumbotron, I've heard rumblings that officials are looking into getting a center-ice scoreboard, but I don't know the timeline.

Where ... is Jason Wiley? I know he's out on injury, but is it still unspecified? Do we have to wait for a miracle to get him back in the lineup, too?
I saw Wiley skating this week in practice. I'm not sure what that means for the North Dakota series yet. It seems like he has had injury issues throughout the season. He's missed 12 games, including the last five. Otherwise, the only other injury issues right now are Channing Boe and Cameron Cooper, which leaves the Mavs a little thin on defense.

What ever happened to Peter Lompado?
I don't believe he's at Minnesota State anymore. Last year, he was a redshirt defenseman who also played baseball for the Mavericks. I think he was recruited primarily as a baseball player but was thought to be someone who could be an extra D who could play in a pinch for the hockey team.

Any insight into Andy Sackrison's (sophomore) slump? His performance this year reminds me of Jerad Stewart last year. This is one of the more perplexing issues on the team. Sackrison had a rock-solid second half of his freshman year, which prompted many -- myself included -- to think he'd be a go-to guy this year. He has just one goal and four assists in 22 games. Last year, he finished with six goals and 14 assists. Like Wiley, he's had some injury issues, but he's also been in and out of the lineup because of performance. Last Friday against Minnesota, Sackrison was on the fourth line but he centered the top line with Mouillierat and Irwin on Saturday because of Trevor Bruess' suspension.

Do you know how much recruiting the Mavericks do in Canada? More specifically the BCHL & AJHL? They do some. Irwin (BCHL) and Mouillierat (AJHL) are the only players from those leagues on this team. There have been many others in the past, and I know assistant coaches have made trips to Canada this year. As for incoming freshmen (see next question), none are from Canada.

Should the Mavericks be getting some more commitments soon? Since there are 13 Jr's and Sr's not to mention Bruess who might as well be a senior. I guess I'm just wondering when the commitments are going to come in to fill the gap of that huge Jr class? I know this is a hard question so just give me the information that you can: Just this week MSU got a commitment for defenseman Tyler Elbrecht from St. Louis of the North American Hockey League. He's a 6-foot-5, 220-pound 20-year-old. Also coming in next year are goalie Kevin Murdock, defenseman Danny Heath and forwards Eli Zuck and Eriah Hayes of the USHL and forward Tyler Pitlick from Centennial High School. They'll bring in another goalie, too. That class should cover the losses of both senior goalies, both senior defensemen (Friesen and Kilburg), senior forward Mick Berge and any other losses (Bruess, perhaps, although he told me last week he's not considering anything until after the season ends). Brett Peterson, who likely wasn't going to play anyway, appears to be done after undergoing back surgery, which opens another roster spot. I'm sure they could also redshirt one of the incoming forwards for the following season when they lose a large class of forwards. As for 2010, they currently have commitments from forwards Josh Berge (Mick's brother), Zach Lehrke (Minnesota's top high school scorer last year) and Mankato's own Core Leivermann. They'll have to get more, obviously.

There has been some discussion on the USCHO board as to Jutting's contract. Can you clarify if it is or isn't up for extension at the end of the season? Thanks Shane. Jutting signed a two-year contract extension after the 2006-07 season. Last year, after he won the WCHA coach of the year award, athletic director Kevin Buisman said they could begin talking about a possible extension/new contract in the summer, meaning starting last July. From what I understand, Jutting's next contract must be a four-year deal, so the university has a big decision to make after the season.

Thanks to everyone who asked questions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mouillierat, Zacharias earn WCHA honors

Mavericks forward Kael Mouillierat and goaltender Mike Zacharias were named WCHA players of the week this week for their performances in the sweep of Minnesota. The WCHA release can be found here.

Mouillierat was named offensive player of the week, and Zacharias shared defensive player of the week honors with Minnesota Duluth goalie Alex Stalock.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lucia defends Schack again

Gophers coach Don Lucia said Monday that Brian Schack crossed the line "a little bit" when he went after Minnesota State's Channing Boe during Friday's game in Mankato but also defended Schack by saying on his radio show Monday, "That’s not the way we like to play. But in some of our kids’ defense, Brian Schack included — and I’ve said it, at some point, we got to protect our own players, too. Brian did that and that’s to his credit."

Boe had checked Jay Barriball from behind when Schack chased him down and tackled him from behind, inciting some fisticuffs in the corner. Schack continued to pound on Boe who was lying defenseless on the ice before referee Todd Anderson finally broke it up. Somewhere in the pileup, Boe broke his leg and is out for the season.

"There were some vicious hits," Lucia said of the game. "The elbowing, the five-minute majors, the disqualifications, the checks from behind. It shouldn’t be part of the game. Especially — you don’t see it very often where the team that is winning like that is initiating some of the things that went on."

Apparently, the WCHA was reviewing the incident. We'll see if there will be any more punishment handed down tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can read more about it on Roman Augustoviz's blog here.

Idle questions

With the Mavericks off this week, this might be a good time for PucKato to take your questions. So go ahead and ask away over the next couple of days, and I'll try to answer them on Thursday.

Boe out for season

I just realized that I didn't post this earlier. For the record, Mavericks defenseman Channing Boe is out for the season, barring "a miracle," coach Troy Jutting said. Boe broke his leg during a melee in Friday night's game against Minnesota. For more on the story, go here.

Mavs miss top 20, Gophers fall

Following Minnesota State's sweep of Minnesota, the Mavericks got more votes for the poll but not enough to get into the top 20. Meanwhile, the Gophers fell four spots.

1. Boston University (33)
2. Notre Dame (17)
3. Northeastern
4. Michigan
5. Cornell
6. Denver
7. Vermont
8. Miami
9. Minnesota
10. Princeton
11. New Hampshire
12. Boston College
13. North Dakota
14. Yale
15. Ohio State
16. Wisconsin
17. Minnesota Duluth
18. Colorado College
19. Dartmouth
20. St. Lawrence
Other receiving votes: St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, RIT, Alaska, Air Force, Nebraska-Omaha, UMass, UMass-Lowell, Niagara

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Historic sweep

Here's the story from Sunday's Free Press:

By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS – For nearly 15 minutes, the Minnesota State men’s hockey team could not ignore history.

Preserve a one-goal lead, and they’d secure the program’s first-ever weekend sweep of Minnesota. Hold on, and they’d win a game in Mariucci Arena for the first time in a decade.

“It’s nervous. It’s exciting. It’s so many things,” said junior forward James Gaulrapp, whose short-handed goal in the first period ended up as the game-winning goal in the Mavericks’ 3-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association upset over the fifth-ranked Gophers.

“It’s a great feeling. You don’t want to let it go. It’s pretty awesome.”

Following Friday night’s 6-2 win in Mankato, the Mavericks opened up a 2-0 lead on goals by Kurt Davis and Gaulrapp in the first period. Goaltender Mike Zacharias stopped 29 shots, and Zach Harrison sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 12.7 seconds left in the game.

While the win – just the fifth over the Gophers since the teams first played in 1997 – had historical significance, the Mavericks (13-13-3, 9-11-2 in WCHA) called it more important for the current season.

“I think (history) is for the fans,” coach Troy Jutting said. “We come out and try hard to beat everyone we play. This was four points in the league right now. It’s more important that the kids are starting to understand how to play and do what they need to do to be successful.”]

The Mavericks moved back into the Pairwise Rankings and within one point of the Gophers in the league standings. The sweep followed a stretch in which they won just three of 13 games.

“The biggest thing was for us to get back on track,” Gaulrapp said.

Saturday’s game followed a raucous series opener that had more than 90 minutes worth of penalties, including four majors, and two ejections.

But the Mavericks maintained a physical, yet disciplined game. Jutting said that was emphasized before the opening faceoff.

“We came here to win a hockey game,” Jutting said. “That other stuff wasn’t important.”

The Mavericks took eight penalties, and the Gophers took 10, including two more majors.

Davis’ goal came on the power play at 11:24 when he fired the rebound of a Geoff Irwin shot behind goalie Alex Kangas (28 saves).

Gaulrapp scored while killing a penalty, poking the puck out of the defensive zone and fighting off Gophers Jake Hansen and Patrick White before shoving a backhanded shot behind Kangas.

“I was going to go as hard as I can no matter what,” Gaulrapp said.

Early in the second period, two Gophers –Nico Sacchetti and captain Ryan Stoa – received major penalties and game misconducts for checking from behind less than two minutes apart. The Mavericks failed to score but didn’t allow Minnesota to grab too much momentum from the partisan crowd of 10,187.

The Gophers ended Zacharias’ shutout bid at 5:09 of the third period when Patrick White put in his own rebound after a nice feed from Ryan Flynn.

From there, the Mavericks held on to history. They were outshot 12-5 in the period and killed off a penalty along the way.

“It’s fun. It’s why we play – for those pressure situations,” Zacharias said.

Irwin had two assists, including a nifty feed to Harrison for the empty-netter. The Mavericks won the regular-season series over the Gophers with a 2-1-1 mark.

“This is really special,” senior defenseman Brian Kilburg said. “It’s something we haven’t done – not only to get the sweep but to do it in their barn. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish.

The Mavericks will be idle next weekend and will return to action Feb. 13-14 at North Dakota.