Sunday, October 31, 2010

Denver player suffers neck injury (update)

University of Denver center Jesse Martin suffered three fractures in his neck after getting checked by North Dakota's Brad Malone during a game on Saturday in Grand Forks, N.D. According to the Denver Post's Mike Chambers, Martin was transferred to a Minneapolis hospital and doctors were contemplating whether or not he needed surgery to relieve swelling of the spinal chord.

UPDATE: Martin is in stable condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. and out for the season, according to a DU press release. He has feeling in all of his extremities and will undergo further testing over the next 24 hours to determine whether surgery is necessary.

Read Chambers' blog post here. Video of the hit can be seen here.

According to the report, after getting hit, Martin was knocked unconscious, taken off the ice on a stretcher and moved to a Grand Forks hospital.

Malone wasn't originally penalized for the hit, but officials gave him a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging while Martin was being attended to.

This is the second time in the last six seasons that a player suffered broken bones in his neck in a game between DU and UND. After a hit during the '06 Frozen Four, Sioux's Robbie Bina had to have surgery to repair broken vertebra after getting hit by the Pioneers' Geoff Paukovich. Bina returned to the ice the next season.

Mavericks 2, Seawolves 2 - OT

Eight games into the season and Minnesota State already has four ties. The Mavericks had three all of last season.

But following Saturday night's 2-2 tie with Alaska-Anchorage, MSU coach Troy Jutting said, "I'll take three points on the road every week."

The Mavericks won the first game on Friday and are now 2-2-4.

On Saturday, Minnesota State scored first and had a 1-0 lead after the first period on a goal by Corey Leivermann. Evan Mosey and Adam Mueller assisted on the goal.

But the Seawolves came back and took a 2-1 lead. Tommy Grant scored in the second period, and Craig Parkinson netted a power-play goal at 3:17 of the third period, shortly after MSU was called for its second penalty of the young frame.

But with five minutes to play, the Mavericks' Eriah Hayes tied the game, putting back the rebound of a Mosey shot from the high slot. Ben Youds also assisted on the goal.

"We got three points on the weekend," Jutting said in a phone interview, "and it was another game where had to gut it out a little bit. I thought showed some guts. It's a long trip, and I think (Anchorage) got swept only one time last year up here."

Officially, the Seawolves outshot the Mavericks 31-23, although Jutting said he believed his team had more chances than the 11 shots on goal it was credited with over the first 40 minutes. 

Phil Cook stopped 29 shots and has a .938 save percentage over the last four games.

"We had some good chances," Jutting said. "I'm not going to tell you we played our best hockey. We had some opportunities that you gotta score on. We were 1 for 4 on the power play; we're getting a little better in that area."

Read the Anchorage Daily News account of the game here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mavericks 3, Seawolves 2

Anchorage Daily News photo
Minnesota State started its long road swing on the right foot, defeating Alaska-Anchorage 3-2 on Friday night at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

The Mavericks got goals from Andrew Sackrison, Mike Louwerse and Anchorage native Eli Zuck but, more importantly, came up big on the penalty kill when they needed it most. Not only did they kill of Evan Mosey's five-minute major in the first period, but they faced a 5-on-3 for nearly two of the game's final three minutes.

"We battled," coach Troy Jutting said in a phone interview after the game. "We gutted it out. It wasn't pretty, but it was a win."

Read the Anchorage Daily News coverage of the game here. There's also a photo gallery of the game here.

"We did a great job on the 5 on 3," Jutting said. "Channing Boe, Tyler Elbrecht, Andy Sackrison ... we blocked shots. If there was a gutty win, that was it."

Goaltender Phil Cook was also solid for the third game in a row, stopping 29 shots. He allowed two goals by Justin Kirchhevel, one in the final second of the first period -- a tip-in on the power play -- and another deflected shot with 22 seconds remaining in the game. On the latter, the Mavericks had just finished killing the 5 on 3 and remaining 5 on 4 and the Seawolves had the goalie pulled for extra attacker.

"We're getting better with the penalty kill," Jutting said. "We got good goaltending, too. But we still need to continue to improve."

Kirchhevel's first goal put Anchorage up 1-0. The Mavericks bounced back with two goals in the second period. Sackrison scored at 5:34, getting assists from Chase Grant and Corey Leivermann, and Louwerse scored at 17:56 from Ben Youds and Elbrecht. Both were even-strength goals.

At 2:17 of the third period, Zuck scored a power-play goal with Kurt Davis and Zach Lehrke assisting.

"We scored a goal on the power play, which we have to do most nights," Jutting said.

Notes: The Mavericks (2-2-3, 2-2-1 in WCHA) put a season-low 18 shots on goal, with just four in the first period and four in the second. ... Mosey was playing for the first time since getting injured in the Mavericks' season opener. He was called for checking from behind at 11:48 of the first period, drawing the major and a game misconduct, which ended his night. ... MSU and UAA will play again at 10:07 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NHL Network to broadcast Mavs

Tonight's game between Minnesota State and Alaska-Anchorage will be replayed on the NHL Network at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Friday-morning skate

Minnesota State is in Anchorage, Alaska, today but PucKato won't be there (I will go to Omaha and Denver in the coming weeks, however). The Mavericks and Seawolves will face off at 10:07 p.m. CDT. Mankato-area folks can hear the game with Mike Sullivan's call on KTOE (1420 AM). Also, UAA games are streamed online, so perhaps you'll be able to watch on your laptop.

PucKato won't be live blogging but will try to do regular updates on Twitter (I'm looking for more followers, so join me, won't you?).

On to this morning's coverage of the WCHA ...

Minnesota State will be seeing a familiar face on the opposing bench tonight in Alaska. Mavericks alum Ryan McKelvie is an assistant coach for the Seawolves. The gameday preview isn't posted online, but here are a few nuggets: Phil Cook will start in goal for the Mavericks ... Rylan Galiardi remains out with a lower-body injury but Eli Zuck and Evan Mosey are back in the lineup. ... With Galiardi out, senior forward Andy Sackrison moves up to the No. 1 center spot.

As for the Seawolves, they are hoping to make Sullivan Arena a tough place to play. Last year, UAA went 6-8-0 at home against WCHA teams. Five times, it lost Friday night, only to bounce back and win Saturday. Once, they won Friday and lost Saturday. St. Cloud State was the only WCHA team to score a sweep in Anchorage.

In other league action ...

Michigan Tech at Wisconsin: The Huskies are hoping to remain unbeaten when they travel to Madison following a week off (their last games were the win and tie with MSU). ... Meanwhile, Wisconsin boasts the top-scoring rookie in the nation in Mark Zengerie. He also leads the team in scoring with 10 points and will be one of seven freshmen in the Badgers' lineup.

Denver at North Dakota: Minnesota State has many road miles ahead of them, but North Dakota has been traveling just as far to start the year. The Sioux are finally back at home after racking up more than 7,400 miles. North Dakota will also be honoring former goalie and NHL-great Ed Belfour this weekend. It ought to be a cool moment tonight when the Sioux all skate out for warmups in custom No. 29 Belfour jerseys that will be signed by Belfour and sold for $199.29. ... As for the Pioneers, they are being led by a very young goaltender, Sam Brittain, who only seems to have done what every other goalie at DU has done: play great. He has a .940 SV% and a 1.70 GAA in four games.

Minnesota at Colorado College: The Gophers are on the road at Colorado Springs (their only flight this season) and coach Don Lucia has promoted goalie Kent Patterson to almost equal-billing with senior Alex Kangas. "The way Kent has played, he has earned more ice time," Lucia said. ... The Tigers, coming off last week's split in Mankato, have some juggling to do in their lineup with star forward Rylan Schwartz out after his game DQ for kneeing MSU's Chase Grant last Saturday.

Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State: The Bulldogs aren't forgetting their last meeting with Bemidji, which may have cost them a bid into the NCAA tournament. This will also be a matchup between the team with the new arena (BSU) and the team that will be moving into one later this year (UMD). Apparently, Penn State officials have looked at Duluth's Amsoil Arena as it designs its hockey building. ... Meanwhile, the Beavers are quickly learning the grind of the WCHA. After hosting then-No. 2-ranked North Dakota, they now face the nation's third-ranked team, UMD.

Quinnipiac at St. Cloud State: The Huskies are stepping out of conference play and will host the Bobcats. One SCSU player who has stepped up his game of late is senior defenseman Brett Barta.

You can also read league previews from USCHO, INCH and This is the WCHA.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You want answers, road trip edition

PucKato's not going to Alaska this weekend. Just staying home to answer your pressing questions ...

From Nation: What is the status of Galiardi's injury? Will he be making the trip to Alaska?
Nation, Galiardi is out this week and, I suspect, a few more. After being checked out this week, he got some good news, namely that the injury was not season-ending. When asked about his return at practice on Wednesday (he wasn't on the ice), he said only, "Back soon." Coach Troy Jutting said he wasn't ready to say how "soon" exactly and said the Mavericks would be cautious with their captain.

From Sam: What is the goalie situation looking like for this weekend? Cook started both games last week, and did pretty well. Does Austin get the nod on Friday, and maybe Saturday if he does well? Or are they going to stick with Cook until he has a rough outing again? ... Have you ever asked Michael Dorr for his opinions of Minnesota State versus Minnesota? Gophers fans love referring to MSU as a "junior college." Sadly, a substantial amount of MSU students even view their university in a lesser light than the U, which has always bothered me. You've got to have pride! (I'm talking about more than just the two hockey clubs and their histories. I'm talking about the schools themselves.)
Sam, if you've followed MSU hockey for awhile, you know that Jutting likes to stay with the hot goalie. Cook will start on Friday and should after last weekend's performance. WIth this long road swing the Mavericks have ahead of them, I wouldn't be surprised if Lee plays at some point this month in order to keep both goalies fresh. But you gotta go with Cook on Friday. ... As for Dorr, I've never really asked him questions specifically about the two colleges. Fans are fans, though; I wouldn't be too bothered by what they say about your school.

From BIGhkyfan: Saw your column about the road trip. Don't you think this could speak well for the Frosh/Soph guys? As their JR schedules can be rather intense between buses and planes. Maybe not so much the Midwest team players, but looking at Wenatchee, WA where Mosey played, Alaska is in that division which meant plenty of air travel I assume. These young Frosh/Soph legs could be key over this period? What say you...
BIG, Come on, It's not like the juniors and seniors are 35-year-old veterans. There might be something to the idea that the freshmen are used to tough travel schedules since they went through that just a year ago (before the trip to Michigan Tech, some of them laughed about the 9-hour bus trip and basically said, "That's nothing"). The Mavericks have to make sure they're getting good rest and staying healthy over the next month, no question. But I still believe, when it come to winning games, they need the old guys to play well, as they did last Friday against CC. Andy Sackrison, Eriah Hayes and Adam Mueller really stepped up their games in that win.

From Nation: What about Zuck and Mosey on the injury status report? I forgot to mention them in my above post. Will either of them make the trip to Alaska?
Nation, both Zuck and Mosey were back at practice this week and appear to be in the lineup tonight. Zuck is excited about being back because he is from Anchorage. I believe the team will have dinner at his family's house there tonight. Mosey, who hasn't played since opening night, should help out the power play with his return.

From Five Hole: Do you think the next four weeks will provide an opportunity for some team "bonding"? I can't help but feel that the rough travel schedule the Mav's are facing will only provide benifits of the intangible "chemistry". It certainly seemed to help Mich Tech after their Euro trip this past summer. They came back a different team with the same core group of players.
Five Hole, I certainly think there's something to that. This is different from Tech's European trip in that the Mavericks still come home for practice and school in between trips. That's where the grind of all of this travel comes in: bus trips to Minneapolis, flights to Anchorage, Denver and Boston, bus trip to Omaha. And then the players all have to keep up with their classes. But I can't help but think all of that time together is good for team bonding. How that translates on the ice, of course, remains to be seen.

From Alex: Who are the extra players making the trip? What is up with Brett Peterson is he still injured? Is Evan Karambelas redshirting this season?
Alex, D-Josh Nelson and F-John McInnis will be the extras on the trip. Danny Heath was practicing as a forward this week, with Galiardi out and I thought that maybe he would go. But it's probably best to bring a freshman forward who has been skating in the Mavericks' system since the start. ... Peterson is not injured but he's just someone who's not going to play much. Part of that is because his past injuries have slowed him down. It's too bad because he's a great guy (players and coaches love him, which is why he's still around), but that's just the reality of things. I thought that maybe he'd be on the trip this week, but Zuck got healthy. ... As for Karambelas, I don't think he's officially a redshirt, but it's probably a situation much like Lee was in as a freshman when he was behind Zacharias and Tormey. If they don't have to play Evan, they won't, and then they will get another year from him if they need one. 

From Maverick: Whats your opinion on the play of Corey Leivermann so far? Are the 10 best players on the power play? i noticed last weekend that may not have been the case.
It's not too hard to see that Leivermann is not the best skater out there. That's been the knock on him since high school. However, I think we're already starting to see why he was able be such a good player at West and why he adapted quickly in the USHL. He's a smart player who seems to find ways to be in the right place at the right time. He works really hard and always seems to end up around the puck. Does he look as comfortable as Chase Grant right now? No. But you can see a player there who looks like he's figuring out more and more every time he plays. ... As for the  power play, injuries have caused the Mavericks to mix things up on the PP. Mosey and Zuck being out, Galiardi injured mid-game on Friday. There has been a lot of mixing and matching so far, and that's OK early in the season. Some guys you might want to see on the PP are actually using that time to rest because they're figured to be important penalty killers -- Schiller and Mueller have found roles there, it appears (and each has a short-handed goal). In my opinion, the power play isn't a reward for the 10 best players. Rather, teams need to find the best, most-effective combinations that can move the puck and create quality scoring chances. 

From Billb: On a really important topic. What is the new song the Mavs are using during pre-game introductions. My daughter says she needs to have it on her ipod.
Billb, I wish you had sent this one in earlier. I honestly don't know the answer to this. Can anyone help us here?

MSU's Rogan honored by WCHA

Kathleen Rogan
Minnesota State women's forward Kathleen Rogan was named WCHA rookie of the week after netting a hat trick in last Friday's upset win over No. 6 North Dakota. Rogan leads the Mavericks with four goals and two assists in six games. Her hat trick was the first by an MSU player since Ashley Young scored three goals against Bemidji State in 2008.

Rogan is a Vancouver, B.C., native who played at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault.

Coach Eric Means' team is 2-3-1 (1-3-0 in WCHA) and will face a tough early-season test when it travels to No. 1-ranked Wisconsin for a Friday-Saturday series. The last time the Mavericks were in Madison, they scored their first and only victory over the Badgers, snapping a 44-game winless streak.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Answer my question!

The question, jerk!

And with that, it seems like as good a time as any to play You Want Answers?!?!? You know the drill: Ask me your questions about MSU hockey, the WCHA, southern-Minnesota hockey or anything else on your mind in the comments section of this post and I'll try to answer them on Thursday.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

CC 1, MSU 0

Freddy's Three Thoughts of the Game.

1. Mankato native makes good: Here's some good college-hockey trivia: Colorado College goaltender Joe Howe was born in Mankato. "I lived here only a year," he said. "I don't really remember it." But he seems to play well here, scoring his third win and second 1-0 shutout at the Verizon Wireless Center. Howe made 35 saves, bouncing back from a rough night on Friday when he allowed five goals on 34 shots. Howe, who grew up in Plymouth and was the WCHA's all-rookie team goaltender last year, stopped 16 shots in the first period for the second night in a row. All the help he needed was a Stephen Schultz power-play goal.

2. And at the other end ... Mavericks goaltender Phil Cook was pretty good on Saturday, too, equalling a career-high with 40 saves, including 16 in the third period. It was the first time he had played back-to-back nights and seemed grateful for the opportunity. "My main goal is to get in a grove and help the team win," he said. "Playing back to back really helps." Cook went into the series with a .842 save percentage but stopped 94 percent of the shots he faced against the Tigers. Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said he gave Cook the start after a solid game and, especially, a brilliant late third period on Friday. "It was kind of a gut feeling," he said.

3. Hitting the road: The Mavericks couldn't leave their fans with memories of a win to last more than a month. Minnesota State will travel to Alaska-Anchorage next weekend and follow that with road trips to Nebraska-Omaha, Denver and Massachusetts-Lowell. Their next home games will take place Dec. 3-4 against Minnesota. "It was a pretty good hockey game," Jutting said. "I thought the kids did a good job putting forth the effort," Jutting said. "We just didn't make the play we need to make."

MSU vs. Colorado College - Game 2 live blog

Lines can be found below the Cover It Live box. ... Phil Cook will start in goal tonight after a solid performance last night.

Chase Grant - Andrew Sackrison - Eriah Hayes
Michael Dorr - Mike Louwerse - Corey Leivermann
J.P. Burkemper - Joe Schiller - Justin Jokinen
Adam Mueller - Zach Lehrke - John McInnis

Tyler Elbrecht - Ben Youds
Channing Boe - Kurt Davis
Cameron Cooper - Josh Nelson

Phil Cook
Austin Lee
Evan Karambelas

Scratches: Galiardi (inj.), Mosey (inj.), Zuck (inj.) Heath, Peterson

Tim Hall - Nick Dineen - Tyler Johnson
Andrew Hamburg - Archie Skalbeck - David Civitarese
Jaden Schwartz - Rylan Schwartz - Stephen Schultz
Alexander Krushelnyski - Dakota Eucland - William Rapuzzi

Ryan Lowery - Eamonn McDermott
Gabe Guentzel - Joe Marciano
Arthur Bidwill - Doug Leaverton

Joe Howe
Josh Thorimbert

Friday, October 22, 2010

MSU 5, CC 4

Pat Christman photo
Freddy's Three Thoughts of the Game

1. Veterans come through: Going into Friday's game, forwards Eriah Hayes, Andrew Sackrison and Adam Mueller had just one point combined (a Sackrison assist) through the first four games. They teamed up for three goals and three assists against the Tigers, as Hayes had the game-winning goal and an assist, Sackrison, a senior, had the second three-point game of his career (1G, 2A) and Mueller scored a sweet short-handed goal to give MSU a 4-3 lead in the third period. Those veterans will have to come through Saturday and perhaps beyond as senior captain was seen on crutches after the game. He suffered a "lower body" injury in the second period and said he would not know the severity of the injury until Monday.

2. Isn't that special? Minnesota State's special teams were brutal through the first two weeks but they showed much improvement on Friday. Although coach Troy Jutting said there's still work that needs to be done, MSU went 2 for 5 on the power play, getting goals from Chase Grant and Sackrison, and was stellar on the penalty kill. CC went 0 for 6 on its excellent power play but got 17 shots on net, including four in the final two minutes of the game when they were skating 6x4 with their goalie out of the net. Mavericks goalie Phil Cook came up big when he needed to, finishing the game with 39 saves, including 18 on 20 shots in the third period.

3. Cut to the Chase: Freshman Chase Grant came into the season with high expectations and he's been more than solid so far. The forward from Oklahoma City scored two goals on Friday, including a nifty backhander that he lifted over goalie Joe Howe's shoulder from close range. That was the Mavericks' first goal of the game, sparking a three-goal second period. Grant now has three goals, the most on the team. Another freshman, Corey Leivermann, had an assist, his second point of the year.

Check out the game's box score here. Read the game story from Saturday's edition of The Free Press here.

MSU vs. Colorado College - Game 1 live blog

Tonight's lines can be found below the Cover It Live box. ...

Chase Grant - Rylan Galiardi - Eriah Hayes
Michael Dorr - Mike Louwerse - Corey Leivermann
J.P. Burkemper - Joe Schiller - Justin Jokinen
Adam Mueller - Andrew Sackrison - Zach Lehrke

Tyler Elbrecht - Ben Youds
Channing Boe - Kurt Davis
Cameron Cooper - Josh Nelson

Phil Cook
Austin Lee
Evan Karambelas

Scratches: Heath, McInnis, Mosey, Peterson, Zuck

Tim Hall - Nick Dineen - Tyler Johnson
Dakota Eveland - David Civitarese - Andrew Hamburg
Jaden Schwartz - Rylan Schwartz - Stephen Schultz
Alexander Krushelnyski - Scott Winkler  - William Rapuzzi

Ryan Lowery - Eamonn McDermott
Gabe Guentzel - Joe Marciano
Mike Boivin - Arthur Bidwill

Joe Howe
Josh Thorimbert

Referees: Don Adam, Mike McCreary. Linesmen: Chris Olson, Jeff Schultz

Friday-morning skate

It's a hockey day in Mankato, and the Mavericks host Colorado College this weekend. It ought to be busy around the Verizon Wireless Center this weekend as the inaugural Mankato Marathon is going on, too.

Check out  The Free Press' coverage of the marathon on our website. There have been plenty of stories, including a couple by yours truly (this must be how Kevin Pates feels!).

Getting to hockey, though, Minnesota State junior forward Michael Dorr is playing meaningful hockey games in October for the first time in several years (he did get in one Halloween game as a Gopher playing against the Mavericks two years ago).

Dorr will be playing on a line with Mike Louwerse (as he has every game so far this season) and Corey Leivermann. The Mavericks are without two injured players, defenseman Evan Mosey and forward Eli Zuck. Mosey was on the ice skating this week but Zuck was not. Coach Troy Jutting said he'll likely rotate his goalies again this weekend. If he stays true to form, Phil Cook will start tonight's game.

As for Colorado College, the Tigers are 2-1-1 but, like the Mavericks (0-1-3), haven't scored many goals. CC has outscored its opponents 9-8. MSU has been outscored 16-13.

"It could become a special teams war," Tigers coach Scott Owens told The Gazette's Joe Paisley. "They'll play with intensity because they will be a desperate team."

Going around the rest of the WCHA ...

Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota Duluth: Everyone knows that Duluth has the high-octane scoring line of Fontaine, Connolly & Connolly, but look out league, the Bulldogs also have hot line of Kyle Schmidt, Travis Oleksuk and J.T. Brown. The News-Tribune's Kevin Pates (mentioned earlier) also has a story on UMD equipment manager Chris Garner, who is recovering from a bone-marrow transplant. ... As for the Seawolves, they have shown some resiliency this season, making late comebacks, including one in a season-opening tie with North Dakota.

St. Cloud State at Minnesota (Friday-Sunday): The St. Cloud Times features Huskies freshman Nick Jensen, who is off to a nice start. Funny story: Jensen was asleep when he was taken by the Red Wings drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. ... As for the Gophers, Mike Hoeffel has been nicknamed "The Huskies Killer" by SCSU coach Bob Motzko, according to the Strib. Hoeffel led Minnesota in goals last season. But the Gophers are young up front and, according to the Pioneer Press, their freshmen will have to mature quickly this season.

Wisconsin at Denver: Here's a pretty good matchup between two teams that lost a ton of talent in the offseason. The Badgers' Jordy Murray is suddenly the team's top offensive threat and scored his first hat trick a week ago. ... As for the Pios, they're banged up, and freshman Sam Brittian will be starting in goal as Adam Murray is out with a groin injury.

North Dakota at Maine: The Sioux may be playing at Maine, but that's almost home for New Brunswick native Brad Malone, who grew up five hours away from Alfond Arena and will have 38 family members in attendance. The games will be the fifth and sixth on the road to start the season for UND, and the team has made it all across the country, starting the year in Alaska, playing Bemidji last week and Maine tonight.

Nebraska-Omaha at Michigan: The red Mavericks will step out of the league and return to the CCHA for a weekend to take on Michigan. UNO is just 1-14-0 at the Wolverines' Yost Arena but this will be the first time it's there as a WCHA team.

Check out weekend previews and league notebooks by USCHO, Inside College Hockey and This is the WCHA. College Hockey Weekend's Facebook page also has some links to check out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tigers coming to town

Colorado College is coming to Mankato this weekend. If you like your D-I men's hockey, this will be your last chance to see it until the first weekend in December because the Mavericks will be on the road from Halloween through Thanksgiving, going to Alaska, Nebraska, Colorado and Massachusetts.

But for now, the Tigers are coming, the Tigers are coming, and the Mavericks are seeking their first victory of the season.

The Colorado Springs Gazette's Joe Paisley is starting to preview the series, looking at three things the Tigers need to do to win this weekend. You can read that here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Minnesota State 5, Michigan Tech 5 - OT

Freddy's three thoughts of the game:

1. Outplayed but not outscored: Sometimes the shots-on-goal stat can be deceiving. Minnesota State outshot Michigan Tech 46-32 on Saturday night and 83-64 for the weekend. The Mavericks controlled the puck, created plays and again had plenty of prime scoring opportunities. They scored five goals, but could have had oh-so-much more. Players are missing nets high and wide and not attacking rebounds when they do hit the net. The power play finally scored -- a goal which forced the tie -- but it is now just 2 of 21 over four games. "It's gotta get better," coach Troy Jutting said. "Again, you've gotta score when you get your chances."

2. Defensemen come through (on offense): What a night for the blue liners. Tyler Elbrecht, Kurt Davis and Cameron Cooper scored goals. Joe Schiller, who spent much of his first two seasons playing as a defenseman, had a short-handed goal, and Channing Boe fired the power-play blast that rookie forward Chase Grant tipped in to force overtime. Davis finished with a goal and two assists. Even Tech defenseman Steven Seigo had a big night, assisting on his team's power-play goal that tied the game 4-4 with 30 seconds left in the second period and scoring the go-ahead goal midway through the third. The Mavericks' defenders weren't as good at defending, however, and have much to clean up before Colorado College comes to Mankato on Friday. "We didn't put 60 minutes together, collectively, as a team," Boe said.

3. Rebound issues: Mavericks goalie Austin Lee is probably kicking himself on the long bus ride back to Mankato because of two of Tech's goals. On the game's first goal and on the score that tied the game 3-3 in 91 seconds into the third period, Lee let rebounds get away from him that he should have gobbled up. Instead, they fell to the ice for Husky goals. The initial shot on both plays ended up in Lee's chest or belly, a place where many MSU shots went to die against Tech's Kevin Genoe. Lee can make the first save, but needs to do a better job of handling the puck once it gets to him. Lee finished the game with 27 saves, including 10 in the third period.

Overtime: Michigan Tech is unbeaten through five games (3-0-2) for the first time since the 1972-73 season when the Huskies started 8-0-0.

For more on Saturday's game, check out Sunday's edition of The Free Press.

MSU vs. Michigan Tech, Game 2 live blog

Tonight's lines can be found below the Cover It Live box. ... Austin Lee will get the start in goal for the Mavericks.

Adam Mueller - Rylan Galiardi - Eriah Hayes
Chase Grant - Mike Louwerse - Michael Dorr
J.P. Burkemper - Andrew Sackrison - Justin Jokinen
Eli Zuck - Joe Schiller - Corey Leivermann

Tyler Elbrecht - Ben Youds
Channing Boe - Kurt Davis
Cameron Cooper - Danny Heath

Austin Lee
Phil Cook

Scratches: Zach Lehrke, Josh Nelson

Bennett Royer - Brett Olson - Milos Gordic
Ryan Furne - Eric Kattelus - Jacob Johnstone
Mikael Lickteig -Patrick McCadden - Dennis Rix
Aaron Pietila - Alex MacLeod - Anthony Schooley

Deron Cousens - Carl Nielsen
Daniel Sova - Steven Seigo
Brad Stebner - Ricky Doriott

Josh Robinson
Kevin Genoe
Corson Cramer

Friday, October 15, 2010

Michigan Tech 5, Minnesota State 2

Daily Mining Gazette photo
Freddy's three thoughts of the game:

1. Coffee is for closers: Minnesota State dominated the second period Friday, outshooting Michigan Tech 16-6 over the first 15 minutes of the frame. With the game tied 2-2, Eli Zuck was called for an offensive-zone slash (something that should never happen) and about a minute later Rylan Galiardi was also called for slashing, giving the Huskies a 5x3 in the final two minutes of the period. Steven Seigo and Brett Olson scored power-play goals 61 seconds apart to give their team a 4-2 lead that they seemingly didn't deserve going into the final period. Tech coach Jamie Russell said, despite the late surge, he "snapped" at his team for its "lousy" play in the second period.

2. 'Broken record': That's how MSU coach Troy Jutting described his words when talking about his team's lack of scoring punch. The Mavericks showed off tremendous offensive skills Friday, holding the zone, winning battles in the corners and creating odd-man rushes (by Ben Youds' count, there were seven such rushes in the first two periods). But the Mavericks simply couldn't finish. Credit goalie Kevin Genoe on a couple of shots. But, other than rookie J.P. Burkemper's first-period goal, pucks went high or wide or into the goalie's belly.

3. Here come the Huskies: Michigan Tech, which lost 30 games a year ago, is now 3-0-1 and scoring 4.75 goals a game. They have 16 power-play goals already (MSU is just 1 for 16 in three games). "It's a great feeling right now, especially compared to my first two years being here," Tech junior Brett Olson said. "I know our seniors could say the same thing. I think they know what it's like to start well and teeter out at the end. But with the attitude and leadership we have, we're hoping for better things to come."

Read more about Friday's game in Saturday morning's Free Press. Read the Daily Mining Gazette's coverage here.

Minnesota State vs. Michigan Tech, Game 1 live blog

Tonight's lines can be found below the Cover It Live box. ...

Andrew Sackrison - Rylan Galiardi - Zach Lehrke
Chase Grant - Mike Louwerse - Michael Dorr
Adam Mueller - Joe Schiller - Eriah Hayes
J.P. Burkemper - Eli Zuck - Justin Jokinen

Tyler Elbrecht - Ben Youds
Channing Boe - Kurt Davis
Cameron Cooper - Josh Nelson

Phil Cook
Austin Lee

Scratches: Corey Leivermann, Danny Heath

Bennett Royer - Brett Olson - Milos Gordic
Ryan Furne - Eric Kattelus - Jacob Johnstone
Aaron Pietila - Daniel Holmberg - Alex MacLeod
Mikael Lickteig - Patrick McCadden - Dennis Rix

Deron Cousens - Carl Nielsen
Daniel Sova - Steven Seigo
Brad Stebner - Ricky Doriott

Kevin Genoe
Josh Robinson
Corson Cramer

Referees: Scott Bokal, Craig Welker. Linesmen: Sean Jacues, Dan Juopperi

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friday-morning skate

There will be no Friday-morning skate due to the early wake-up and drive to Houghton, Mich. May I recommend checking out the blogs listed in the right-hand column, notably Brad Schlossman's Friday-morning reading.

You want answers, U.P. edition

From Sam: 1) What did you think of the power play over the weekend? To me it looked great on Friday, but a bit lackluster on Saturday. ... 2) To me, a big part of the problem on Saturday, at least when it came to the power play, was absence of Zach Lehrke. I thought he looked excellent on Friday. Any explanation for him sitting on Saturday, other than to give another player some ice time? ... 3) Will we be seeing Austin Lee in goal on Friday? ... 4) How serious is Evan Mosey's injury?

Sam, the power play did look great Friday. They moved the puck around with ease and had a couple of scoring chances during the 5-minute major. However, they were credited with just three shots on goal during PP time. One of those shots was Mike Dorr's goal. On Saturday, they had eight power plays with 13 shots and no goals but they never really got it set up. I thought the power play in OT was a mess. ... I think you're onto something about Lehrke. He'll be back in the lineup on Friday and, I expect, back on the PP. I like what I saw from him there. As for him sitting on Saturday, I think it was to give John McInnis a chance to play. They need to see everyone early if they can. ... As for the goalies, I would guess both guys get a chance to play but Jutting did not commit to his Friday starter before the team left for Houghton. ... Mosey did not practice this week and is not on the trip. I think they'll take it easy with him and make sure he's 100 percent before getting him back out there. I don't think it's a long-term thing, though.

From Nation: 1) Who are the extra players making the trip to Michigan? ... 2) What do you think of J.P. Burkemper? The coaches seem to be high on him. ... 3) Which rookie did you think played the best or impressed you the most over the weekend?

Nation, the extra guys on the trip are Leivermann and Heath, which means rookie Josh Nelson will play on defense again as he did last Saturday. Nelson is ahead of Heath at that spot because of their junior experience. Nelson played more than 100 junior games over the last two years while injuries limited Heath to just 27 over that same time. ... I wrote a bit about Burkemper on the blog last week. He sure had a nice opening weekend. He probably came in as the least-heralded freshman forward. But he's got good size and can skate. Players were raving about him during captains practices, too. ... I thought all of the freshman had nice moments. Leivermann's goal certainly was impressive. Burkemper made the play to set up Saturday's lone goal.

From hockey25: Do you think the Mavs will have a different offensive strategy this year because of the lack of proven scorers?
hockey25, not really. I think the hope is that the veterans take the next step, players like Galiardi, Dorr, Hayes, Louwerse, Jokinen, Schiller, Zuck. They really like the skills the offensive skills the freshmen bring, and defensemen like Youds, Davis and Mosey can really move the puck up the ice.
From Dan Myers: Are the Mavericks' throwback uniforms going to be a Saturday night staple like last year's or were they a one-time thing?
Dan, based on what I've heard, those will be the Saturday-night jerseys.
From MSUMaverickFan: UAA's star defenseman Kane Lafranchise was recently ruled academically ineligible for the first half of the season. How is this situation different from Matt Lietner's? Is there any hope that he could become eligible for the second half of the season?
MSUMaverickFan, even if they could get Leitner eligible by the semester break, I doubt they'd play him because he can't even practice with the team right now. He wouldn't be ready to play. They're best off letting him get his academics in order and be ready to go next fall. I'm hoping do more on Leitner later this year.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

High-scoring Huskies

Michigan Tech -- Minnesota State's opponent this week -- tied Northern Michigan 4-4 on Tuesday night, putting up 53 shots along the way. These don't appear to be your same-old Huskies. They're 2-0-1, having defeated NMU and Lake Superior State last weekend and have 14 goals in three games (4.67 goals per game). Last season, Tech went 5-30-1 for a national-worst .153 winning percentage. They also averaged just 2.06 goals per game.

Senior wing Bennett Royer has four goals and two assists already, while senior defenseman Deron Cousens has six assists, four of which came in Tuesday's game.

Forward Milos Gordic was named WCHA rookie of the week for his play over the weekend. Gordic, who now has three goals and one assist, is considered a freshman as he was granted a medical hardship season after suffering a season-ending injury 10 games into last season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You want answers?!?! It's a new season

It's time for this season's first installment of You Want Answers, where you ask a question about Minnesota State hockey (or anything else on your mind) and I'll answer. Post your questions on Tuesday and Wednesday (use the comments section on this post), and I'll answer them on Thursday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Minnesota State 1, St. Lawrence 1 - OT

Minnesota State rookie Chase Grant (20). (Wright Braudt photo)
PucKato's Three Thoughts of the Game

1. Don't speak too soon: So much for praising the Mavericks for scoring goals. On Saturday, they had 38 shots on goal but only ended up with on goal -- and that one had to be jammed during a scramble in front of outstanding freshman goalie Matt Weninger. MSU had eight power plays to mess around with and failed to score, including on a Saints penalty in overtime. There are many new faces on the power play, though, and it might take time for them to jell. The Mavericks had one power-play goal on two chances on Friday, although the first chance was a five-minute major. 

2. Jock jams: Mavericks junior forward Justin Jokinen scored the Mavericks' lone goal and finished the series with two goals and an assist. It's a great start to the year for a player who was a healthy scratch for the last 10 games of last season. He played in 21 games as a sophomore and finished the year with three goals and one assist. Could it be a breakout season for the fourth-round NHL draft pick? "He had a good summer," MSU coach Troy Jutting said. "He was a kid who was young (coming straight to college from high school). He's the same age (now) as our freshmen. It takes a little time. But he's bigger and stronger and has gained some confidence being bigger and stronger."

3. Young fellas: Every freshman skater except defenseman Danny Heath got on the weekend. The only ones who played both games were Chase Grant and J.P. Burkemper. Grant looks the part on the top line, making some nice, smart plays that looked more like a veteran made them than a freshman. Burkemper came to MSU a little under the radar. A 6-3, 190-pound forward who was not a top scorer in junior hockey, one might think he was coming in as a grinder. But he appears to be an excellent skater with skill enough to make the kind of plays that led to MSU's goal. "He's a very good skater, a great skater," Jutting said. "He's got very good skill. He's a little bit younger than the other freshmen. I thought he played very well this weekend."

MSU vs. St. Lawrence, Game 2 live blog

Tonight's lines can be found below the Cover It Live box. A few notes: Austin Lee will get the start in goal for the Mavericks tonight. ... Other lineup changes include Adam Mueller for Corey Leivermann and John McInnis for Zach Lehrke at forward and Josh Nelson for Evan Mosey on defense. Mosey was injured on Friday but the others are believed to be healthy scratches. ... It appears that Matt Weninger will start in goal for the Saints.

Chase Grant - Rylan Galiardi - Eriah Hayes
Adam Mueller - Joe Schiller - Andrew Sackrison
Michael Dorr - Mike Louwerse - John McInnis
J.P. Burkemper - Eli Zuck - Justin Jokinen

Tyler Elbrecht - Ben Youds
Channing Boe - Kurt Davis
Cameron Cooper - Josh Nelson

Scratches: Danny Heath, Brett Peterson, Corey Leivermann, Zach Lehrke, Evan Mosey (inj.)

Kyle Flanagan - Aaron Bogosian - Sean Flanagan
Max Mobley - Rick Carden - Jacob Drewiske
Greg Carey - Kyle Essery - Jeremy Wick
Mark Armstrong - Nic Vangog - Sean Logue

George Hughes - Peter Child
Justin Baker - Matt Raley
Riley Austin - Matt Dyer

Matt Weninger
Joe Spadaccini
David Grilk

Friday, October 8, 2010

Minnesota State 5, St. Lawrence 5 - OT

Corey Leivermann celebrates after scoring his first college goal Friday night. (Pat Christman photo)
PucKato's Three Thoughts of the Game:

1. Comeback kids?
One game might be too early to make any sweeping statements about a team, but after trailing 4-2 after two periods, the Mavericks came out and dominated the third, scoring two goals in the first 1:38 (Justin Jokinen had a hand in both, scoring the first at 38 second and assisting on Eli Zuck's tying goal a minute later) and taking the lead on Mike Louwerse's goal at the 10:38 mark. The Mavericks outshot the Saints 24-10 in the third period and overtime. 

While Sean Flanagan's goal with 3:54 remaining in regulation forced the tie (it was Flanagan's second goal  and fourth point of the night), the Mavericks showed something they just never did last season. Last year, they were 1-12-0 in games where they trailed after two periods. The lone win was in Game 1 of the WCHA playoffs at St. Cloud State. 

2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
That was Corey Leivermann's night in a nutshell. The Mankato native couldn't have had a better start to his career at MSU, batting a loose puck out of the air to score the Mavericks' first goal midway through the first period. But at the end of the second period, he was called for checking from behind, getting a five-minute major and a game misconduct. With Leivermann out of the game, the Saints quickly scored on the major to take their 4-2 lead. 

"It was a rollercoaster ride," Leivermann said. "I went from Cloud 9 to 'What just happened?'"

Said Mavericks coach Troy Jutting: "I thought Corey played a good game while he was in there, but obviously, you've got to be careful (on the checking from behind play). ... But I thought it was a good start for him."

3. What scoring problem?
Offense is the big question mark for the Mavericks this season, but they didn't necessarily show that on Friday. They put 49 shots on net and got goals from five different players: Leivermann, Jokinen, Louwerse, Zuck and Michael Dorr. Jokinen and Dorr also had assists, and Kurt Davis had a two-assist game. Joe Schiler, Andrew Sackrison, Zach Lehrke, Cameron Cooper and Phil Cook also had assists. Lots of guys with points.

Dorr was kicking himself after the game, thinking he could have had four goals. He put two shots off the crossbar and, in overtime, had a prime scoring opportunity barely turned away by the paddle of goalie Robby Moss' goal stick. Had Dorr lifted the puck off the ice, he would have won the game. Dorr was credited with seven shots on goal.

On the flip side, the Mavericks have to shore up their penalty kill, as St. Lawrence was 3 for 6 and had 14 of its 31 shots during the man advantage.

Notes: Mavericks sophomore defenseman Evan Mosey suffered upper-body injury in the first period and did not return to the game. ... St. Lawrence's Sean Flanagan finished the game with two goals and two assists. ...  Read The Free Press game story.

Minnesota State vs. St. Lawrence live blog

Tonight's lines and officials can be found below the live blog (starters in bold). ... A good primer on this year's new hockey rules can be found here (pdf). ... A reminder about some number changes: Mike Louwerse wears No. 9 now, while Michael Dorr wears No. 23.

Chase Grant - Rylan Galiardi - Eriah Hayes
Michael Dorr - Mike Louwerse - Zach Lehrke
Andrew Sackrison - Joe Schiller - Corey Leivermann
J.P. Burkemper - Eli Zuck - Justin Jokinen

Tyler Elbrecht - Ben Youds
Channing Boe - Kurt Davis
Cameron Cooper - Evan Mosey

Phil Cook
Austin Lee
Evan Karambelas

Scratches: Adam Mueller, John McInnis, Brett Peterson, Danny Heath, Josh Nelson

Kyle Flanagan - Aaron Bogosian - Sean Flanagan
Nick Pitsikoulis - Mark Armstrong - Jared Keller
Max Mobley - Rick Carden - Jacob Drewiske
Greg Carey - Kyle Essery - Jeremy Wick

George Hughes - Peter Child
Jordan Dewey - Matt Raley
Justin Baker - Pat Raley

Robby Moss
Matt Weninger
Joe Spadaccini

Referees: Todd Anderson, Jon Campion. Linesmen: Matt Anderson, Jerome Krieger

Friday morning skate — welcome to the season

Mavericks captain Rylan Galiardi (Pat Christman photo)
Good morning! It's game day — for real this time, and the Mavericks are set to take on St. Lawrence at the Verizon Wireless Center tonight. Minnesota State will have its veterans who watched Monday's exhibition game out of the stands and onto the ice.

That veteran group includes senior captain Rylan Galiardi, who has embraced his leadership role. One of two Canadians on the team, Galiardi talked about bringing together a group of players from a variety of locales, including Minnesota (of course), Canada, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, Oklahoma Arizona and Alaska (am I missing anyone?)

Meanwhile, you can check out The Free Press' series preview here. Phil Cook will get the start in goal tonight, and all six defensemen have had college experience, but there's a freshman on each of the forward lines.

As for the Saints, according to the Watertown Daily Times, they are happy to get senior Sean Flanagan back from a serious hip injury suffered two seasons ago.

Eleven of the 12 WCHA teams are in action tonight. Here's a look around the leauge:

St. Cloud State is playing in Nebraska-Omaha's Maverick Stampede. The Huskies will play RIT and Clarkson, while the Red Mavericks get those teams in reverse order. The St. Cloud Time has several preseason stories on its Husky Hockey page, including a look at arguably the best 1-2 punch of any WCHA team in goal. ... While the tournament is a nonconference affair, this weekend officially marks the first time UNO is representing the WCHA. Read more about the Mavericks' start to the season and a Stampede preview here.

With coverage of the Twins, the Randy Moss saga and the Wild opener, the Start Tribune did find a way to squeeze in some news about the Gopher hockey team, which will host Massachusetts tonight. Minnesota captain Jay Barriball, who is a fifth-year senior after missing most of last season with a knee injury, feels like it's a slap in the face that the WCHA coaches picked the Gophers to finish fifth.

Denver is starting off the year with a home game against Vermont. For the Pioneers, expectations from the outside are high, but they have to replace a lot of departed talent, especially in goal where sophomore Adam Murray and a freshman will split time to try to fill the pads of Marc Cheverie.

Minnesota Duluth and Michigan Tech will be playing in the Superior Showcase, which matches up  the Lake Superior teams from the WCHA against those from the CCHA, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan. Duluth will play at Lake State tonight and at Northern on Saturday, while Tech plays the opposite schedule. For The Bulldogs, goalie Kenny Reiter has emerged as the No. 1 goalie on a team that returns some great talent and is poised to be a top-three team in the conference. ... As for the Huskies, they will be trying to dig their way out of the conference basement this season. One player eager to help is Houghton native Blake Hietala, a walk-on forward.

Alaska-Anchorage is hosting the Kendall Hockey Classic and will kick things off with a nonconference game against WCHA-favorite North Dakota. Alaska and Air Force are the other two teams in the tournament. For the young Seawolves, playing the Sioux means the chance to start the season "with a bang" according to senior Tommy Grant. ... Meanwhile, North Dakota is giving a goalie not named Brad Eidsness the start tonight — meet Aaron Dell. Perhaps this as good a time as any to do that since Anchorage has its own worries in net.

Wisconsin gets to play in this year's Icebreaker in St. Louis, taking on Boston University tonight and either Holy Cross or Notre Dame on Sunday. The Badgers have been hit as hard as any team with offseason losses. Senior center Sean Dolan has become the team's leader almost by default, as last spring's chosen captains turned pro. Expect Wisconsin to have plenty of newcomers in the lineup this season.

Colorado College will open the season against Rensselaer (RPI), and the Tigers also have to fill some voids left not by early departure as much as by graduation. Their freshman class does include WCHA preseason rookie of the year Jaden Schwartz.

Off the beats, you can also read conference previews by INCHUSCHO and This is the WCHA.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the Minnesota State women's hockey team will begin its season tonight at Mankato's All Seasons Arena against Niagara. The Mavericks are young and are led by a junior defenseman whose surname is quite familiar to followers of women's hockey in southern Minnesota.

If you made it this far on the post, be sure to check back later today for PucKato's live blog coverage of tonight's MSU-St. Lawrence game.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rink wars

The WCHA preseason coaches conference call took place on Tuesday, and while much of the discussion centered around the league's two newest teams, Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha (no Penn State/Big Ten questions, please!), conference officials were obsessed with talking about the league's new rinks.

Not only will Bemidji be moving into a new arena to kick off its first year in the WCHA (see pictures from last night's season-ticket holder event here) but Minnesota Duluth will be moving into the new Amsoil Arena on Dec. 30. Omaha coach Dean Blais told the call that UNO soon will be announcing a new on-campus arena that the Red Mavs will move into in three years, while St. Cloud State is in the midst of a major overhaul ($31 million) to the National Hockey Center.

Bemidji's building sounds nice: 4,200 seats, 25 suites, 250 club seats. Duluth's building will have 6,732 seats and 16 suites. Blais said the new UNO arena will have between 7,200 and 8,000 seats.

Minnesota State is beginning its 12th season in the WCHA, but the Mavericks will be playing in the eighth-oldest building in the league (once UMD moves out of the DECC). Here's a look at all of the teams and when their arenas were built:

Bemidji State, Bemidji Regional Events Center, 2010
Minnesota Duluth, Amsoil Arena, 2010
Nebraska-Omaha, Qwest Center, 2003
North Dakota, Ralph Engelstad Arena, 2001
Denver, Magness Arena, 2000
Wisconsin, Kohl Center, 1998
Colorado College, World Arena, 1997
Minnesota State, Verizon Wireless Center, 1995
Minnesota, Mariucci Arena, 1993 (suites added in 2001)
St. Cloud State, National Hockey Center, 1989 (renovation planned)
Alaska-Anchorage, Sullivan Arena, 1983
Michigan Tech, MacInnis Student Ice Center, 1972 (recent renovations, including suites in 2009)

The Verizon Wireless Center seats about 4,800 and can fit more than 5,000 with standing room tickets. It has, I believe, 10 suites. Mankato has made a few upgrades to its arena recently, updating the scoreboards and the press area. There are been plans to get new seats (purple, perhaps) in the future, and there has long been talk of putting in a club room for years. The Mavericks themselves have also made nice upgrades to their locker room area over the last few years.

Attempts to get state funding for arena upgrades have been shot down several times in recent years, despite the fact that taxpayer money is helping fund the new rinks in Bemidji and Duluth, as well as the upgrades in St. Cloud. No state funding as gone into the Verizon Wireless Center, just local taxes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

MSU 1, British Columbia 0

The Mavericks get the exhibition win, thanks to a short-handed goal by Eli Zuck (during a 5x3!) and a combined 40 saves by Phil Cook and Austin Lee.

Read The Free Press' game story here.

Scoring one goal isn't necessarily pretty, especially against a team that gave up 12 to two other WCHA teams the previous two nights. But there's bound to be be a little better offensive flow this weekend when Rylan Galiardi, Michael Dorr, Eriah Hayes, Ben Youds and Kurt Davis return to the lineup, especially on the power play (the Mavericks were 0 for 4 with the man advantage, getting five shots on goal).

Interestingly, Monday's game did indeed experiment with the controversial rule banning penalty killers from icing the puck. This was supposed to take place in all exhibition games but apparently did not. It certainly seemed strange to hear a whistle blow in that situation and have a stoppage. Watching it take place, it probably wasn't as bad as people feared. However, that rule would make the games last much longer because penalty killers are still going to ice the puck, especially if they're tired and have the chance to do it after a long shift.

Looking ahead to the weekend and St. Lawrence, the preview on the Saints can be found here.

MSU vs. British Columbia (exhibition) - live blog

It's back! Minnesota State is taking on British Columbia in an exhibition game at the Verizon Wireless Center. Lines can be found below the Cover It Live box.

Andrew Sackrison — Eli Zuck — Zach Lehrke
Adam Mueller — Joe Schiller — Corey Leivermann
Chase Grant — Mike Louwerse — John McInnis
Brett Peterson — J.P. Burkemper — Justin Jokinen

Josh Nelson— Tyler Elbrecht
Channing Boe — Danny Heath
Cameron Cooper — Evan Mosey

Phil Cook
Austin Lee
Evan Karambelas

Scratches: Kurt Davis, Michael Dorr, Rylan Galiardi, Eriah Hayes, Ben Youds

Referees: C.J. Beaurline, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen: Matt Anderson, Jarod Moen

Seven WCHA teams ranked

The first Division I men's rankings were released on Monday, and defending national champion Boston College is ranked No. 1, getting 45 of 50 first-place votes (including PucKato's).

Seven WCHA teams were ranked in the top 20 and two others also received votes. North Dakota is ranked second (with three first-place votes), St. Cloud State is fourth, Minnesota Duluth is eighth, Denver is ninth, Wisconsin is 13th, Minnesota is 15th and Colorado College is 20th. Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha also got votes, leaving Minnesota State, Alaska-Anchorage and Michigan Tech on the outside looking in right now.

Here is the poll:

1. Boston College
2. North Dakota
3. Miami
4. St. Cloud State
5. Michigan
6. Yale
7. Maine
8. Minnesota-Duluth
9. Denver
10. New Hampshire
11. Cornel
12. Alaska
13. Wisconsin
14. Boston University
15. Minnesota
16. Michigan State
17. Notre Dame
18. RIT
19. Union
20. Colorado College

Others receiving votes: Vermont, Bemidji State, Northern Michigan, Ferris State, Nebraska-Omaha, Northeastern, RPI, Mercyhurst, Quinnipiac, Merrimack, Ohio State, Colgate, St. Lawrence, Air Force, UMass-Lowell, Robert Morris

Meanwhile, put out its WCHA preview on Monday, while Inside College Hockey ranked all 58 D-I teams and put Minnesota State at No. 39, citing the Mavericks' tough road swing that lasts from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

It's gameday!

Minnesota State will begin the 2010-11 season today with an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia at the Verizon Wireless Center. Gametime is 7:37 p.m.

To get geared up for the game, you can read The Free Press' season preview, which focuses on the Mavericks' three senior defensemen — Channing Boe, Kurt Davis and Ben Youds — here. Also, you can read my first-day-of-practice story, which takes a look at MSU freshman and Mankato native Corey Leivermann here.

British Columbia played WCHA teams Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota, losing 6-1 to the Red Mavs on Saturday and 6-0 to the Gophers on Sunday. Both UNO and Minny had significant shot advantages. Here's the Omaha World-Herald story. Read more about Sunday's game here. As for tonight's game, Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said on Saturday that several veterans will sit this one out (see post below) in order to get all of the freshmen acclimated to the college game.

Tickets for tonight's game and all other single-game seats for this season will go on sale at 10 a.m. today at the Verizon Wireless Center and through Ticketmaster outlets.

There was some Twitter discussion (follow me!) on Saturday regarding the controversial new rule that was nearly passed and then scrapped this summer that would have banned short-handed teams from icing the puck and making personnel changes. Word was that the rule was going to be tried during exhibition games. As it turns out, that idea was tossed aside, too.

Tonight's game is the final exhibition game of the preseason for the WCHA, whose teams went 9-1 over the weekend, playing Canadian colleges and the U.S. Under 18 Team. The league's only loss came on Sunday when Lethbridge defeated Denver 5-2. Meanwhile, St. Lawrence, MSU's first regular-season opponent this Friday and Saturday, won its exhibition game on Saturday.

Be sure to check back on PucKato tonight for my live blog. I'll also try to post game updates on Twitter.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And they're off!

Minnesota State kicked off the men's hockey season Saturday morning with its first official practice of the new year.

"I was pleased with the intensity level, especially for 9 in the morning," coach Troy Jutting said.

It's hard to say too much about lines at this point, since the Mavericks are preparing for Monday's exhibition game against British Columbia. Jutting said forwards Rylan Galiardi, Michael Dorr and Eriah Hayes (possible No. 1 line?), as well as defensemen Kurt Davis and Ben Youds, will sit out that game in order to get the rookies acclimated not only to game action but the routine of a college game day.

"We need to get the young kids in a game situation so they understand how we do things and know our modus operandi," Jutting said.

That freshman class includes Corey Leivermann, the first Mankato native to play for MSU. His reaction to Day 1: "Nervous." Look for more on his first day and his expectations for this year in Sunday's edition of The Free Press.

In case you missed it, here was Saturday's story leading up to the first practice and Galiardi's reaction to being picked 10th in the WCHA preseason polls. Also, be sure to check out more on this year's team in Monday's Free Press.

The Mavericks will have a second practice in on Saturday evening and another on Sunday before playing Monday night at the Verizon Wireless Center.

Other notes: Defenseman Channing Boe missed Saturday morning's practice due to a family commitment, however, he's expected to be at the evening session. ... British Columbia, MSU's opponent on Monday, is playing Nebraska-Omaha tonight and Minnesota on Sunday. ... There is one college hockey tonight that will count, as Michigan hosts Mercyhurst. ... I've been hearing through the grapevine that Josh Berge will not be following his brother, Mick, to Minnesota State after all, and this story out of Lincoln confirms it. Academics might be an issue.