Hockey ready for second round test

The team gears up for their second round matchup versus Lake Superior State

John Laforest
Staff Writer

The Maverick hockey team marches ahead into the WCHA tournament, as they completed the sweep of Alabama-Huntsville this past weekend after capturing a 4-1 victory in the second game of a best-of-three series at the Verizon Center, punching the team’s ticket to the second round of the WCHA tournament against the Lake Superior State Lakers.

The win gave MSU its seventh consecutive WCHA first round series win dating back to the 2012-13 season. After the game Saturday, coach Mike Hastings had comments on the overall outlook to the game he said, “the first 40 minutes were great for us we got off to a great start.” He later pointed to the start as a key reason the team was able to prevail.

The Lake Superior State Lakers enter the matchup sporting a 23-11-2 overall record finishing fourth in the league regular-season standings with a 16-10-2 WCHA record. The journey to the semifinals started with a WCHA first-round series win over Bemidji State with 4-2 and 3-1 victories over the Beavers last weekend.  

LSSU is led by head coach Damon Whitten.  Whitten, a 1997 Michigan State grad, owns a 66-101-2 record so far in his five seasons with the Lakers.

The Mavericks and Lakers have played four games this season already. The Mavs have come out victorious in three of the four matches, scoring at least three goals in the wins. The Mavericks’ only loss to the Lakers on the season came in mid-January, in a close defensive matchup in a 1-0 game. 

Mike Hastings through seven seasons as head coach owns a record of 180-79-21 during his head coaching run, the Mavericks have won at least 20 games every year, something that is unprecedented in the 50-year history of the program. Through Mike Hastings tenure he owns the most wins in the conference.

Minnesota State comes into their matchup against the Lakers on an offensive roll. The team ranks first in the country with 42 power play goals, and a +70-scoring margin.

Minnesota State’s will look keep building on this historic season. The teams’ 29 wins this season are tied for second on the all-time list for most wins in a season. This teams’ current win total is only precedent by the team from 1979-80, which currently ranks one win ahead of this year on the school’s single-season wins list.

These two teams will first drop the puck Friday at 7:07 p.m. in the Verizon Center to kick off a best of three series, with the last game (if needed) Sunday at the same time and location.

Header photo: Sophomore forward Dallas Gerards (22) and the Mavericks march into the weekend with hopes of conquering Lake Superior State, and moving on to the WCHA championship. (Kjerstin Hall | MSU Reporter)

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