Saturday, September 29, 2018

Homecoming for hockey, too

Today is Minnesota State's homecoming, and a lot of the focus will be on the football game. But the Mavericks women's hockey team also will be playing this afternoon, kicking off their regular season at 2 p.m. at the Verizon Center against RPI. The two teams also will play at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Mavericks played an exhibition game a week ago against a Canadian college, British Columbia, and won 2-0, getting second-period goals from senior Jordan McLaughlin and freshman Brooke Bryant. Three goalies split time in goal with freshman Abigail Levy preserving the 2-0 lead with 12 saves in the third period.

Minnesota State has won its last two regular-season openers. The Mavericks are hoping to improve on a 5-28-1 record last season. RPI is coming off a 9-19-6 season.

ICYMI, for more on the MSU women, check out a season preview/feature in last week's Free Press.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Mavericks ranked 10th nationally

The first USCHO preseason rankings were released on Monday, and Minnesota State is No. 10 in the country. The Mavericks are one of three teams from the WCHA in the rankings. Michigan Tech is No. 18, and Northern Michigan is No. 20. BowlingPreseason Division I Men's Poll
Minneapolis, Minn./September 24, 2018

   Team             (First Place)    Record   Pts  Last Year
 1 Minnesota Duluth          (44)   25-16-3   982     1
 2 Notre Dame                ( 2)   28-10-2   857     2
 3 Ohio State                ( 2)   26-10-5   835     3
 4 Michigan                  ( 2)   22-15-3   790     4
 5 Providence                       24-12-4   698     7
 6 St. Cloud State                  25- 9-6   697     6
 7 Cornell                          25- 6-2   676     8
 8 Boston University                22-14-4   597    10
 9 Denver                           23-10-8   552     5
10 Minnesota State                  29-10-1   488     9
11 North Dakota                     17-13-10  437    17
12 Boston College                   20-14-3   398    19
13 Minnesota                        19-17-2   387    18
14 Princeton                        19-13-4   357    15
15 Northeastern                     23-10-5   345    11
16 Penn State                       18-15-5   302    13
17 Clarkson                         23-11-6   299    12
18 Michigan Tech                    22-17-5   115    16
19 Western Michigan                 15-19-2   109    NR
20 Northern Michigan                25-15-3    98    20

Others receiving votes: Air Force 94, Union 90, Bowling
Green 62, Harvard 58, Massachusetts 35, Wisconsin 27,
Colorado College 23, UMass Lowell 20, Maine 18, Omaha 17,
Canisius 14, Mercyhurst 11, Quinnipiac 8, Miami 2, Brown 1, 
Connecticut 1. Green is among teams getting votes. Minnesota Duluth, which won the national championship last April, is No. 1. Here is the poll:

Mavericks picked first in WCHA coaches poll

Defending MacNaughton Cup champion Minnesota State was picked to finish first again in the WCHA standings in a poll of the league’s coaches. The Mavericks received 7 of 10 first-place votes and 88 points in all in the sixth annual Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll. Minnesota State won last season’s title with a 22-5-1 league record (29-10-1 overall) and 67 points in the standings.


Last season’s runner-up, Northern Michigan, was picked second, receiving two first-place votes and 80 points. The Wildcats were 19-7-2 in conference play last season (25-15-3). They were followed in the poll by Bowling Green in third place with 76 points. Michigan Tech, which won the inaugural Jeff Sauer Trophy as the WCHA’s playoff champion last spring, was picked fourth and received the other first-place vote.

Bemidji State was picked fifth with 54 points, followed by Ferris State in sixth with 49 points. Rounding out the list were Lake Superior State (seventh place, 40 points), Alaska (eighth, 36), Alabama Huntsville (ninth, 35) and Alaska Anchorage (10th, 18).

Northern Michigan forward Adam Rockwood was voted WCHA Preseason Player of the Year. Rockwood, a senior from Coquitlam, British Columbia, led the WCHA in overall-game scoring last year with 48 points, including 40 assists. His 32 points in conference play ranked fourth, second among this season’s returning scorers.

Ferris State defenseman Cooper Zech was voted WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year. The freshman from South Lyon, Mich., played for the Wenatchee Wild of the British Columbia Hockey League last season where he was the BCHL’s Defenseman of the Year, leading the league with 58 assists and scoring 69 points in 58 games. He also had 23 points, including 19 assists in 20 playoff games as the Wild won the RBC Cup.

Rockwood was one of four Northern Michigan players voted to the Preseason All-WCHA Team. He was joined by senior forward Troy Loggins, junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu and senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen. Others on the team were: Minnesota State junior forward Marc Michaelis and Bowling Green junior defenseman Alec Rauhauser. Rauhauser was the WCHA Defenseman of the Year and Tolvanen was the WCHA Goaltender of the Year last season. Rauhauser, Tolvanen, Michaelis and Loggins were All-WCHA First-Team selections last season. Rockwood and Beaulieu were both Second Team picks.

1. Minnesota State (7) 88 pts
2. Northern Michigan (2) 80
3. Bowling Green 76
4. Michigan Tech (1) 64
5. Bemidji State 54
6. Ferris State 49
7. Lake Superior State 40
8. Alaska 36
9. Alabama Huntsville 35
10. Alaska Anchorage 18

(first-place votes in parenthesis)

Preseason Player of the Year: Adam Rockwood, F, Northern Michigan (4)

Others receiving votes: Jake Jaremko, F, Minnesota State (3); Marc Michaelis, F, Minnesota State (2); Troy Loggins, F, Northern Michigan (1).

Preseason Rookie of the Year: Cooper Zech, D, Ferris State (5)

Others receiving votes: Dryden McKay, G, Minnesota State (2); Griffin Loughran, F, Northern Michigan (1); Tim Theocharidis, D, Bowling Green (1); Chris Van Os-Shaw, F, Minnesota State (1).

Preseason All-WCHA
F-Adam Rockwood, Northern Michigan
F-Marc Michaelis, Minnesota State
F-Troy Loggins, Northern Michigan
D-Alec Rauhauser, Bowling Green
D-Philip Beaulieu, Northern Michigan
G-Atte Tolvanen, Northern Michigan

Others receiving votes: Forwards-Jake Jaremko, Minnesota State; Brandon Kruse, Bowling Green; Jake Lucchini, Michigan Tech; Corey Mackin, Ferris State. Defensemen-Rykar Killins, Ferris State; Ian Scheid, Minnesota State; Connor Mackey, Minnesota State. Goaltenders-Ryan Bednard, Bowling Green.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

MSU women' ready to get started

The Minnesota State women's hockey team opens the season on Saturday with an exhibition game. Although the Mavericks have been practicing or four hours a week since school began, Saturday is the official start of the year.

In today's Freep, I previewed the team with a focus on senior forward and co-captain Corbin Boyd (pictured).

A few other nuggets about the Mavericks:

• Can this be the year they move out of the WCHA cellar? Coach John Harrington hasn't hid his excitement about this year's rookie class, and the impact it could have on the program, especially combined with last year's top scorer, sophomore Brittyn Fleming, and a solid group of junior and senior leaders.

• It's never easy in the tough WCHA, and it's hard not to be reminded that MSU has had just one .500 or better season in its 20-year history.

• The WCHA preseason coaches poll came out on Tuesday, and the Mavericks were picked last in the seven-team league. Wisconsin and Minnesota were the co-favorites. For more on the poll, go to the WCHA's website.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mavs get D commitment

On Tuesday, Minnesota State got a commitment from defenseman Akito Hirose of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Hirose, a 6-foot-0, 161-pound Calgary native, has played in 100 BCHL games and compiled 44 points.

In a press release from the Silverbacks, the 19-year-old Hirose says he chose MSU "because of the coaching staff and the trust they built with me. I also know I can learn a lot from all the coaches but especially coach Hastings. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with on of the best coaches in college hockey. The Mankato program has a strong winning culture that puts emphasis on building relationships. Once you become part of the program you're a Maverick for life."

The press release also mentions former MSU player Brett Knowles, who is now an assistant coach for Salmon Arm.

Akito's brother Taro Hirose is a junior winger at Michigan State where he led the Spartans in scoring last season.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Knott promoted to associate head coach

Todd Knott
Over the weekend, The Free Press published my story on Minnesota State assistant coach Todd Knott getting promoted to associate head coach.

The promotion came early in the offseason, head coach Mike Hastings said, and Knott turned down a couple of opportunities to leave Minnesota State for another program. 

One of those programs was likely Minnesota where new coach Bob Motzko is assembling a staff:

As you can read in the story, it's a deserved honor for Knott, the Mavericks' recruiting coordinator and a coach Hastings has spoken quite highly of over the last six years. It's not easy to keep a staff together. And, if my examination of all 60 Division I coaching staffs is right, the trio of Hastings, Knott and Darren Blue (an MSU assistant since 2000) have been together as long as or longer than all but five other groups. 

It seems as though the next step for Knott will be as a head coach somewhere in the next few years.