Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy new year

Oh, hello. ... I didn't see you there.

No I didn't forget about you.

Between posting stories and news on The Free Press' website and keeping up with everything Twitter and, of course, Minnesota State's long break between games, sometimes good old Puckato gets lost in the shuffle. Now that it's 2016, I resolve to get and stay caught up.

Anyway, the Mavericks are back on the ice now, preparing for this weekend's WCHA home series against Northern Michigan, and, boy, does the ice look crowded.

That's because Minnesota State appears to be as healthy as it has all season with just one player not skating this week. That means a deeper and possibly more-competitive team, one with players who have won spots and playing time.

"It still needs to be earned," coach Mike Hastings said of playing time, noting that there were several games in the first half in which there practically was a minimum number of skaters, forwards playing D, defensemen playing forward, etc.

You can read more about the Mavericks' return to the rink and their return to health here.

The Mavericks have a tough but manageable schedule for the second half with plenty of intriguing storylines. In my Tuesday column, I took a look at the remaining games MSU faces as it tries to repeat as MacNaughton Cup champions and goes for a fourth straight national tournament berth.

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