The Minnesota State Mavericks will be looking to continue their early season success as they go on the road to face the 5-1-0 Lake Superior State Lakers this weekend.
The Mavericks are on the road for a two-game series and will be heading to Sault St. Marie, Michigan to face a Lakers team that has seen just as much success this season as Minnesota State has through their first eight games. This series against Lake Superior State will pose as a good test and challenge to see how they can react against a good team on the road.
The problem the Mavericks are going to be facing will be attempting to keep the high scoring Lakers offense from putting any pucks in the back of the net. In six games, Lake Superior State has averaged five goals per game and only allowed their opponents to score at half that rate, averaging 2.49 goals per game, according to Lake Superior State’s athletic page. In a short conversation with Mavericks forward and Captain C.J. Franklin, stopping a team like the Lakers may come down to how the team plays as a unit.
“I think it will take playing as a team and being disciplined in all three zones. If we can do that, play confident and stick to our game plan, I think we will be just fine,” Franklin said.
Stopping them from scoring will not be their only challenge however, as in-between the pipes for the Lakers is junior goaltender Gordon Defiel. Of the six games played by the Lakers, Defiel has all five wins and has yet to lose a game. In his five games played, Defiel has a save percentage of .912 and only allows 2.20 goal against on average to match his team’s five goals scored on average. Getting the puck past the goaltender will be a challenge, but Franklin might just have the answer to the problem.
“We will have to get pucks and bodies to the net to not allow him to see the pucks. It’s always harder for a goalie to stop a puck if he can’t see it, so I think that will be big for us,” Franklin said.
If the Mavericks can get bodies to the net and disrupt the goalie’s line of vision, chances are a puck or two can slip in the back of the net. The team who’s more determined to win will more than likely come out on top. Minnesota State needs to be the aggressors on the road and play at their speed and dictate puck movement in order to come out as the victors on Friday and Saturday. Franklin commented on what it will take to beat a team like the Lakers on the road.
“I think we are going to have to play with pace and pay attention to the details in order to come out on top,” Franklin said. “We need to stick to our game plan and play as a team. Keeping the pace is going to be big for us, it’s not going to be easy, but if we do that we should come out of the weekend successful.”
It’s going to be a tough match-up for MNSU, but if everything comes together and they play up to their potential, then the Mavericks could roll out of Sault St. Marie with a win or two to show for their efforts. The puck drops at 6:37 p.m. Friday and at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.