Team bows out of the tournament early after entering the field as a top seed
Minnesota State men’s hockey couldn’t end their franchise drought of losing in the NCAA Tournament as the Providence Friars won Saturday night, 3-6, in Providence, Rhode Island to bow out of the NCAA tournament.
Mankato is now 0-6 in tournament play and have been unable to gain any success since winning the tournament in 1980 for Division II hockey.
The Mavericks entered postseason play as the No. 1 seed in the East region going into Saturday’s matchup with the Friars.
Minnesota State was dealt a bad hand when it was announced they had to travel to Providence to take on the Friars. The game served as a neutral site, but it was essentially a home game for Providence.
Mankato got off to a hot start, leading the game 3-0. Providence was able to cut the lead heading into the second period with the score of 3-1, but it was the Mavericks that controlled the majority of the first period. It looked as if it would have been a 4-1 lead for MSU, but after the official review, it was deemed offside and therefore overturned.
Sophomore forward Jake Jaremko, along with junior forwards Charlie Gerard and Nick Rivera were the only three players that were able to score Saturday.
The story of the game was the difference in power play success. According to NCAA.com, the Mavericks score on 23 percent of their power play’s, sitting firmly with Minnesota-Duluth for the 10th and 11th spot in Division I. However, they have the most power play goals throughout the season with 44. In Saturday’s game they were 0-for-3, unable to capitalize on anything.
MSU entered the game fifth in the Division I in penalty kills – a success rate of 87.1 percent.
Providence was 4-for-7 on the power play, scoring on 57.1 percent of them.
The biggest game changing moment happened mid-third period when sophomore defenseman Connor Mackey registered a major penalty.
That caused him to be ejected from the game and allowed Providence to break the tie, scoring two goals and taking a commanding 3-5 lead. Minnesota State was unable to find any late game magic like they did against Bowling Green for the WCHA championship game.
They pulled Freshman goalie Dryden McKay late in the third period, but the Friars were able to capitalize on the empty net, sending the Mavericks back home.
This ends their season with a record of 32-8-2, the most wins in school history. While it was a successful season for MSU, it ends in another disappointing NCAA tournament run. Some higher points of the season include winning the MacNaughton Cup and finishing as WCHA champs.
They lose just three seniors this season and will look to build off that success during the 2019-20 season.
Header photo by Kjerstin Hall | MSU Reporter.