Daniel McElroy ® Staff Writer |
Photos by Mansoor Ahmad ® Photo Editor |
The Mavericks men’s hockey team (3-1-1) took a series sweep this weekend over rival Bemidji State University (1-3-1) with a Friday night 5-4 win, and Saturday night shootout win, although the game goes in the record as a 1-1 tie.
The home opener for the Mavericks showed a sloppy defensive, but dominant offensive match, resulting in Dryden McKay stopping 23 out of the 27 shots he faced.
“I liked our start,” head coach Mike Hastings commented after the game. “We came out with a purpose and made Bemidji defend,” Hastings noted their strong offensive core.
One of the top performers this weekend, Julian Napravnik, was outstanding and was motivated more than ever after not being in the lineup in the second game against Michigan Tech.
“It’s always fuel,” Napravnik said in the post game conference. “It’s not the nicest feeling but it’s fuel.”
Napravnik ended Friday night with two goals and an assist, along with the lone shootout game-winning goal on Saturday, impressing Hastings with what he has to offer and the drive he has for himself to do well.
“I’m proud of Julian. Julian has high expectations for himself. Tonight was one of his best games,” said Hastings, praising his junior forward. “We’re going to need him to continue to do that because he’s capable of it.”
Saturday’s 5:07 p.m. start time showed a more tightly knit game as Ryan Edquist, a transfer student from Boston College, got his first start in between the pipes.
The first goal of the game came from the Beavers’ Lukas Sillinger, when Tyler Jubenvill took a shot from the slot, got through traffic in front of the net, and deflected over the shoulder of Edquist. Edquist finished the game making 16 saves from 17 shots, and keeping his composure throughout his first start as a Maverick.
The Mavericks answered quickly as their only goal in regulation came 18 seconds later from the iconic duo of Jaremko to Lutz.
The two Elk River natives have played hockey together more than they haven’t, which makes them more than a threat coming onto the ice.
“I would say if you asked either one of them who their best friend was, they’d say the other,” Hastings said after the game. “They do a lot of things together and you can see their chemistry transfers to the ice sheet.”
As this is only the fourth game of the year for the Mavericks going into the break, the work load and constant change of schedule is still something to be adjusted to.
“I think you can see at this time in the year, back to back games are a bit of a struggle for both teams, just from the conditioning point, but I’m glad we found a way to get the extra bonus of winning a game before we went to break,” said Hastings.