The Mavericks are in St. Cloud for their Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener, and they're hoping to keep their unbeaten start going for at least a little longer.
Minnesota State has found out that it has some comeback in it this year, rallying for two ties and an overtime win already in their first four games (last season, they didn't win a game when trailing after two periods, going 0-18-1). Players are crediting their conditioning for the way they have been able to finish strong. But the team played with fire a bit during its second-period slumps last weekend against RPI, something they can't keep doing, coach Mike Hastings said.
"At this point, it hasn't cost us a game yet," Hastings said. "But we're about out of bullets."
Don't expect much for lineup changes after last week's tie and win, including in goal where Phil Cook is expected to start his third game in a row and fourth this season.
This will be the final regular-season matchup between the Mavericks and the Huskies as conference opponents, as the latter will move into the upstart National Collegiate Hockey Conference next year.
As for St. Cloud State, the team has gotten a strong start from freshman Mike Brodzinski. The St. Cloud Times also takes a peek at Hastings, an SCSU alum who also started his coaching career there.
Going around the rest of the WCHA ...
Wisconsin at Minnesota Duluth: The Badgers are working with a new forechecking system this season, something the coaches decided to implement based on their returning forwards and some careful study. ... The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will open their final season in the WCHA by celebrating its last McNaughton Cup-winning team. The 1993 team was the third UMD team to win the league title.
Alaska Anchorage at North Dakota: The Seawolves haven't won very often in Grand Forks, but they're hoping to catch UND at a good time — early in the season. ... As for North Dakota, it will put a full lineup on the ice for the first time since last February, finally overcoming injuries and suspensions.
Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha: The Beavers are hoping to do this weekend something only 17 other college hockey programs have done: win their 1,000th game. ... Omaha might not be a bad place to give that a try since BSU has been somewhat of a thorn in the red Mavericks' sides in recent history.
Michigan Tech at Denver: The Huskies split with Minnesota last weekend made many college hockey observers take notice. ... As for the Pioneers, they will try to fill the void in Denver as hockey fans (and pro players) ride out the NHL lockout.
Colorado College at Cornell: The Tigers won't start league play until next week (the WCHA schedule can drive you nuts, can't it?) but still face a difficult assignment as they head to New York to play the always-tough Big Red.
Canisius at Minnesota (Sunday only): The Gophers will take on the U.S. Under-18 team in an exhibition game tonight before hosting the Golden Griffins.
USCHO also did a league preview.
Check back on the blog later for MSU's official lineup and a live, in-game chat.