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 FloHockey.tv. 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 FloHockey.tv. Games can be watched through the FloSports app.

WCHA games previously were streamed through Stretch Internet.