Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hastings makes pitch (and other stuff)

Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings and other MSU officials appeared before the Mankato city council on Monday night to make a pitch for the hockey program's future facility needs. The Free Press' Dan Linehan covered the meeting and wrote about it here.

After the season, work is expected to begin on a much-needed new rink at the Verizon Wireless Center, complete with an updated ice system and new boards. But Hastings is also hoping for some other amenities, certainly ones that were proposed about a year ago when requests for state bonding money were made for civic center expansion. However, final designs for expansion have yet to be drawn up.

Editorial comment: As I said on this blog a couple of times last year, it would behoove Mankato's city leaders to take a trip around the state and look at the new arenas in Duluth and Bemidji and the expansion project going on in St. Cloud to fully understand not only what Minnesota State wants and needs but what it's competing against.

Nebraska Omaha freshman goaltender Anthony Stolarz this week announced that he is leaving the program to go to the London Knights of the major junior Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-6 Stolarz, a second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, played in both games against Minnesota State last month, replacing starter John Faulkner in MSU's 6-3 win and then making 27 saves to beat the purple Mavericks 5-1 the next night. That was Minnesota State's only loss in its last 12 games. Stolarz is the second WCHA freshman to leave for the Knights after one semester, joining Denver defenseman Dakota Mermis.

1 VS 2
There should be a more competitive 1 vs. 2 matchup involving Notre Dame on Tuesday night than there was on the football field Monday night. No. 1 Minnesota will host No. 2 Notre Dame in a single nonconference game at Mariucci Arena. (The two teams rank 1 and 3 in the USA Today poll.) Besides the intrigue of seeing two of the best teams in the country squaring off, there is the side story of Gophers coach Don Lucia facing his son, Irish freshman Mario Lucia. The Star Tribune's Michael Russo has an excellent story about the Lucias here.

Cornell coach Mike Schafer said, "I will not come back to the WCHA," after having a big problem with the officiating in his team's series at Denver over the weekend. Denver won both games, and there was a post-game incident on the ice after the second game. Watch a video of Schafer's comments here.

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