While the students and faculty here at Minnesota State were enjoying their winter break, the men’s hockey team was hard at work. MSU faced off against three opponents and had a 4-2 record over the break. They split the series against Ferris State on Dec. 9 and 10. The next weekend they traveled to New Jersey to compete with Princeton where they, again, went 1-1. The Mavs’ third and final series was against conference opponent Alabama Huntsville, where they were able to sweep.
The Ferris State Bulldogs grabbed the first win against the Mavs of their series in December. The Bulldogs shut out the Mavs, 3-0. All three scores came in the second period for the Bulldogs with two of the three coming off power plays. The Mavericks got more shots on goal with 36, compared to Ferris State’s 20. However, the Bulldogs’ goalie Darren Smith played an excellent game. The Mavericks made the decision to pull starting goalie Jason Pawloski after giving up his third goal 15 minutes into the second period.
It looked to be the same story for MSU the next night as Ferris State was up 2-0 after the first period, but the Mavericks kept battling as they scored three unanswered goals in the next two periods. Sophomore Max Coatta scored the first goal for the Mavs in the second period. Juniors C.J. Franklin and Zeb Knutson each had a power-play goal in the final period, ultimately giving the Mavericks the 3-2 win.
The first game of the next series against Princeton did not go so well for the Mavericks. The Tigers were certainly ready to play hockey that night, as they ended up winning the game 6-1. The lone goal for the Mavericks came from senior Sean Flanagan late in the third period.
In the second game, the Mavericks wasted no time in getting their first goal, as freshman Nicholas Rivera put it in the net 54 seconds into the game. After the first period, MSU was up 2-0 following a goal from freshman Marc Michaelis. It’s also worth noting Michaelis has been on a tear as of late. He was named WCHA and HCA National Rookie of the Month for December.
The Tigers responded with a pair of goals, tying up the game three minutes into the second period. The Mavericks then scored two more unanswered goals in the second period starting with a power-play goal from C.J. Franklin five minutes into the second period, and then the Mavericks’ fourth goal came from sophomore Daniel Brickley nine minutes into the second. Princeton then came back with two more goals in the second period, tying up the game heading into the third. The Mavericks had the last say as senior Michael Huntebrinker scored the go-ahead goal in the final period, giving the Mavericks a 5-4 victory over Princeton.
The Mavericks had a successful trip to Alabama as they swept the first series of the new year against Alabama-Huntsville. Junior goaltender Aaron Nelson made his first collegiate start for the Mavericks and it was a perfect performance for the Bismark, N.D. native. He saved all 18 of Huntsville’s shots on-goal. Junior Brad McClure contributed for the Mavericks, scoring two goals in the game. Albeit, the last score was an unassisted empty-netter late in the third period, but every goal helps. Freshman Parker Tuomie also added a goal in the second period, ultimately giving the Mavericks the 3-0 victory.
The following game started off much of the same for MSU. They got rolling in the first period as the Mavericks took advantage of a five-minute major assessed to UAH. During the power play, senior Zach Stepan and freshman Ian Scheid found the back of the net, giving the 2-0 advantage to MSU. Stepan also added his second goal of the game in the second period, as he deflected a shot to the net during a power play. The Chargers didn’t quit though and tried to make a comeback in the third period. Down 3-0, they mustered up two goals early in the period, but could not get the game-tying goal, giving MSU the 3-2 victory.
Following the series sweep against Huntsville, MSU is sitting at a 13-7-2 overall record and a 9-5-2 WCHA record. Their next opponent is conference foe Bowling Green. Both Bowling Green and Minnesota State come into this series tied for third place in the WCHA. The series will be at the Verizon Center with the first game set for Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:07 p.m.