Thursday, June 28, 2018

Czech player commits to MSU

A couple of tweets this week have revealed that Minnesota State recently got a verbal commitment from Ondrej Pavel, a forward from the Czech Republic who played in the NAHL this past season.

Born in 2000, the 6-foot-2, 199-pound Pavel had 10 goals and 14 assists in 60 games with the Minot Minotauros in 2017-18. He's a Fargo Force draft pick, so it's possible that could be playing in the USHL there next season before coming to Mankato.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mavericks going camping

Six current and future Minnesota State players have received invitations to attend NHL development camps this summer.

Invitees on the current MSU roster include junior defenseman Ian Scheid (Ottawa Senators), sophomore forward Jake Jaremko (Nashville Predators) and sophomore defensemen Connor Mackey (Buffalo Sabres) and Riese Zmolek (Los Angeles Kings). Future freshman forwards Chris Van Os-Shaw (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Nathan Smith (Winnipeg Jets) were also invited. Smith was picked by the Jets in the third round of the NHL draft on Saturday.

Drafted and free-agent college players may participate in camps without having their eligibility affected.

Recently graduated C.J. Suess is also listed on the Jets' development camp roster. The forward signed with the Jets, the team that drafted him, after the season. And I can only assume defenseman Daniel Brickley, who signed after his junior year, will be on the Los Angeles Kings' summer roster, although that has not yet been released.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

MSU recruit Nathan Smith drafted

Nathan Smith, a Minnesota State recruit, was taken in the third round of the National Hockey League draft on Saturday. The Winnipeg Jets took him with the 91st overall selection.

Smith, a 6-foot-0, 180-pound forward, is slated to be a freshman for the Mavericks in the fall of 2019.

A Hudson, Florida, native, he played last season with the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Rough Riders of the United States Hockey League and plans on playing for that junior team again this season.

Smith was a prolific scorer playing high school hockey in Florida where he had 176 points (88 goals, 88 assists) in 45 games from 2014 to 2017.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Goaltending turnover

Minnesota State will have a completely different look in goal next season.

Besides having two freshman goaltenders coming in, the Mavericks, for the second year in a row, will have a graduate transfer competing for the job.

Mathias Israelsson, who played three seasons, mostly in a backup role, for Northern Michigan will join the group, while Jason Pawloski, who would have been MSU’s lone returner at the position, is apparently no longer with the program.

Coach Mike Hastings confirmed the move on Monday. He first talked about next season's goalies on the Beyond the Pod podcast with KFAN's Brandon Mileski and Pat Micheletti last week.

“It’s competition,” Hastings said Monday. “You’re looking at three guys, and there’s not an incumbent. I’d be excited about that as a player. The opportunity is wide open."

Israelsson, a native of Sweden who will turn 24 on July 19, appeared in 21 games for the Wildcats, 11 last season, a career-high. He has a career record of 5-7-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage. 

However, with standout Atte Tolvanen, last season’s WCHA Goaltender of the Year (as well as an all-rookie, second-team and first-team all-league pick the last three years), on the team at the same time, Israelsson has not been able to grasp the starting spot for the Wildcats. 

Israelsson has played two games against Minnesota State, losing a game at Mankato as a freshman in 2016 and stopping 23 shots to defeat the Mavericks last season in Marquette, Michigan. After that second game, he was named WCHA Goaltender of the Week.

Although, he’s played in more games over the last three years, Pawloski also had a hard time staking claim to the No. 1 job. In three seasons at Minnesota State he went 22-11-7 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against average. He, too, played in 11 games last season, a career-low, as Connor LaCouvee, a graduate transfer from Boston University evolved into the team’s top goalie in his lone season at MSU. No word yet as to Pawloski's future plans.

“He’s no longer with us,” Hastings said of Pawloski. “We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Before arriving at NMU, the 5-foot-11, 187-pound Israelsson played two seasons in the United States Hockey League with the Fargo Force and Waterloo Blackhawks.

He will compete with incoming freshmen Dryden McKay and Jacob Berger.

McKay, 20, is a 5-11, 161-pound goalie from Downers Grove, Illinois. He spent the last two seasons with the USHL’s Madison Capitols where he had a .907 save percentage and a 3.38 goals-against average last year.

Berger, 20, a 5-11, 165-pound Minnetonka native had a .905 save percentage and 3.45 goals-against average last year, his second season with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Players, including most freshmen, arrived in Mankato this week for the MSU’s second session of summer classes.

Another Zmolek commits to Mavs

Bennett Zmolek, the brother of Minnesota State sophomore-to-be Riese Zmolek, announced on Twitter that he has committed to play for the Mavericks. The defenseman from Rochester Century will be a high school junior, so he's a younger-than usual commit for MSU.

Zmolek had five goals and 16 assists for Century this past season. The Panthers went 20-5-1 and won the Big Nine Conference title. He recently talked to the Rochester Post-Bulletin's Jason Feldman about his decision, saying, “The atmosphere in Mankato is really great. Riese just told me how much he likes it there and how great the staff is.”

Another Zmolek brother, Will, is a Bemidji State recruit. He played this past season at Cedar Rapids of the USHL.

Monday, June 11, 2018

WCHA changes streaming services

The WCHA on Monday announced a multiyear partnership with FloSports to video stream every men's game hosted by a league team.

More than 180 games will be shown live and on-demand on Games include all regular-season league and nonconference games, as well exhibitions and WCHA playoff games.

Subscribers will also have access to additional college hockey coverage, including select Big Ten games.

Monthly or annual subscriptions to FloSports can be purchased at Games can be watched through the FloSports app.

WCHA games previously were streamed through Stretch Internet.