Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday morning skate

Photo by Pat Christman
The Mavericks will take on the Mavericks to open the season tonight in Omaha, Neb.. For Minnesota State, it opens a season of high expectations after their most successful year to date but also one in which they came oh-so-close to the MacNaughton Cup and to advancing in the NCAA tournament.

"At lot of these guys (on the team) have been there -- twice -- so we know what to expect, and we have those expectations," senior center Matt Leitner (pictured) said. "It's not just fun anymore. We get to the rink, and we expect to win when we show up. We expect everyone to contribute, for every to do their job. It's more of a business mentality, and I think that's good for us."

Leitner goes into his final season as one of college hockey's top scorers. He's coming off an excellent season but also one in which he started off terribly slow. He's determined not to let that happen again this year.

Read more about the series in The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday preview.

In Omaha, World-Herald writer Tony Boone writes about MSU coach Mike Hastings' return to town and also breaks down the red Mavericks' roster.

Around the web, there's been plenty written about the Mavericks to start off the season, including stories in USCHO and Minnesota Hockey Magazine. College Hockey News profiled MSU's other top returning scorer, Jean-Paul LaFontaine.

Read WCHA previews from USCHO and College Hockey News.

Also, Jack Hittinger of the Bemidji Pioneer and I make our weekly WCHA picks.

Other links of note:

• The Minnesota State women's hockey team also opens the season tonight and will host North Dakota in a WCHA series at All Seasons Arena.

• Bemidji State opens the season against North Dakota and hopes it can get a fast start against the nation's No. 2-ranked team.

• The Grand Forks Herald's Brad Schlossman has an excellent profile on UND coach Dave Hakstol, who has been coaching there for 10 years.

• Alaska Anchorage is coming off its first winning season in more than 20 years, so what can it do for an encore?

• Anchorage hosts the Kendall Hockey Classic, which also has Alaska, Maine and Wisconsin. The Fairbanks News-Miner takes a look at the field.

• Bowling Green plays a home and home against Miami, coach Chris Bergeron's former team as both a player and assistant coach.

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