It is down to four games in the regular season, and the Minnesota State Mavericks are trying to keep their seven-game winning streak going.
Ferris State is sending the Bulldogs to Minnesota for the fifth and sixth WCHA games the Mavericks will be playing consecutively. At 12-19-1, the Bulldogs are the best competition that the Mavericks have had since their road game in Duluth. MSU has shown they have a high-octane offense, but can it carry for another week?
“It’s difficult to sweep somebody on the at home or on the road,” said MSU head coach Mike Hastings following the pair of games in Alabama. However, the Mavericks have been able to stay alive because of superior firepower, something that has not only won them games but overwhelmed their opponents by leaps and bounds. They have recorded eight sweeps and two consecutive sweeps.
MSU has outscored their opponents 31-10 over their seven-game winning streak. The Mavericks average a ground scorching 3.9 goals per game, which makes the 2.32 goals per game that the Bulldogs average look pale in comparison.
Now, there are all kinds of ways a beat man (like myself) could try and spice this game up to entice the notion of competition. The power play goals (24) of the Bulldogs and how their 17 percent scoring on such opportunities could present a problem for the Maverick defense.
The fact that Ferris State lets up only 2.82 goals per game to conference opponents opposed to the 2.98 allowed by others could lead some to the conclusion they will play the Mavericks tight in the spotlight.
The Bulldogs posting 117 assists could be interpreted as Ferris State has the offense that can spread out, not relying on one player to win the day but force the Mavericks to win man to man.
That all sounds nice, could be a great story, but it is not the real story. The real story.
What To Expect This Weekend
The real story is that MSU has played like the best team in college hockey for the last two months. That the 11 percent scoring they allow opponents on the power play and the 117 goals they racked up this season (compared to the 64 allowed) is far too much offense for the Bulldogs.
That the .914 save percentage of MSU goaltender Connor LaCouvee will is not even the most impressive part of a defense that allows a skimpy 22 shots per game on their goaltender. A goaltender on a team which allows a mere .097 shot percentage.
The real story is that anything less than a sweep for the Mavericks would be a disappointment. It may not be the humble thing and in sports, one tends to believe anyone has a chance on a given night to supersede record and find victory.
However, the Mavericks have launched themselves into being the class of college hockey and host a team that is a middle of the road WCHA squad. The stunning offense and suffocating defense should be more than enough to move the winning streak to nine this weekend.