The Minnesota State men’s hockey team prepares for their final two-game road series this weekend when they travel to Big Rapids, MI to take on the Ferris State University Bulldogs.
The No. 3 Mavericks are first in the WCHA standings with an overall record of 13-2-1 and undefeated in WCHA play at 10-0-0. The Bulldogs are last in the WCHA with an overall record of 1-17-1 and an 0-11-1 record in conference play.
In recent history, Minnesota State swept Ferris State by scores of 4-1 and 4-0 earlier this season. MSU has also won the last 11 straight matchups and outscored their opponent 49-13 in that span. The Mavericks are 25-8-2 all-time against the Bulldogs.
Minnesota State’s depth continues to prove to be the strong point of the team’s success, with eight players who have recorded 10 or more points.
Julian Napravnik leads this effort with 19 points, including seven goals and 12 assists. In the last meeting against Ferris State, Napravnik tallied one goal and one assist in the 4-1 win at the Mayo Clinic System Events Center.
Cade Borchardt stands just behind Napravnik with 18 points on the year with seven goals and 11 assists. Borchardt also put up one goal and one assist each in their most recent victory over the Bulldogs.
The third round draft pick by the Winnipeg Jets Nathan Smith has 17 points on the year, with three goals and 14 assists. The playmaking ability and individual skill of Smith is one of the biggest contributors to his and his linemates success, wherever he is placed on the line chart.
With Jared Spooner out last weekend due to an injury sustained against Bowling Green, the Mavericks lines were shuffled, and saw Shane McMahan, Pavel Ondrej, and Ryan Sandelin represent the fourth line, with defenseman Chris Van Os-Shaw and Tony Malinowski filling the extra skater spots on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Spooner will be out again this weekend.
Dryden McKay continues to be the one of the top goaltenders in the nation with a .959 save percentage and 0.79 goals against average, leading the WCHA in both categories. Senior defenseman Andy Carroll said in a press conference on Wednesday, “He’s special. There’s no other way to say it. He’s just special.”
MSU’s special teams remain one of the best in the conference as well as the country. The Mavericks have been successful on 20 power plays of 62 opportunities, good for the best in the WCHA, and third in the nation. Their penalty kill is second in the WCHA, killing 45 of 51 chances with a man down.
With the playoffs nearing their sights, all the Mavericks are focused on is today. “We’re just taking it day by day,” associate head coach Todd Knott said on Wednesday.