The MSU men’s hockey team kicks off the season Saturday, facing a tough exhibition opponent in Mount Royal University at the Verizon Center to kick off the team’s season.
Minnesota State is coming off a 29-10-1 season in which they were bounced from the first round of playoffs by the eventual National Champions, Minnesota-Duluth.
This year they enter the season with a No. 10 ranking in the power rankings, and have also been ranked as the No. 1 team in the WCHA. Receiving seven out of 10 first place votes in the WCHA Coaches’ Poll, the Mavericks are the preseason favorites to win the conference and head back to the playoffs.
The Coaches’ Poll also named junior forward Marc Michaelis to the preseason all-conference team. Both Michaelis and sophomore forward Jake Jaremko received votes for WCHA Preseason Player of the Year.
The Mavs’ opponent this week, Mount Royal University, will be traveling from Calgary, Canada. The team went 12-16 in U Sports last year which is their own league in Canada, and are currently 2-0 on the season this year.
Their offense has been very good thus far, averaging 5 goals and 38 shots per game. Their defense and discipline have been suspect however. They allowed 16 goals in their first three exhibitions, and their team spent 48 minutes in the penalty box over a two-game stretch last weekend. The lack of discipline on the ice could prove costly against a Maverick team that converted on 28 percent of its power plays from last year.
The Mavericks are 9-1 in their last ten preseason exhibitions, and weirdly enough the exhibition game has, as of late, been a barometer for success in the regular season. The 2014-15 season where MSU was a No. 1 seed at regionals started with a 12-1 win over Trinity Western, while the 21-13-7 season from 2015-16 started with a loss to Regina.
The game will start at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday at the Verizon Center. The Mavericks will start the regular season on Oct. 12 and 13 when 8th ranked Boston University comes to Mankato.
Feature photo from Reporter Archives.