With a great first two weeks of hockey from the Minnesota State men’s hockey team (3-1-0), it’s time for some tournament play.
The Mavericks are traveling up north to Minnesota-Duluth, where the team will take part in the Ice Breaker Tournament.
The four teams involved are the No. 1 Minnesota State Mavericks, No. 3 Michigan Wolverines, Providence Friars, and the host of the tournament, No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
The matchups are set for Friday evening with Minnesota State taking on Providence in the opening match, while Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth will face off in their side of the bracket.
Through three games, the Friars are 3-0, taking a 7-0 win over Army West Point, a 5-2 win over Merrimack, and a 5-1 win over American International.
The last time the Mavericks and Friars met was in the 2019 NCAA East Regional game.
The Mavericks went into the tournament as the No. 1 seed, and the Friars as No. 4. MSU started out the game with a 3-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game, but it did not stay that way.
The Friars came back and scored six unanswered goals to win the game 6-3, and eventually go on to play in the Frozen Four.
That was the third win in a row for Providence, and their seventh win out of the nine games the two teams have played against each other since 2002.
With that being said, this is the first time the two teams have met with the Mavericks having the No. 1 ranking in all of NCAA Division I hockey.
The Mavericks are led on the forefront by Winnipeg Jets prospect Nathan Smith with the team leading three goals and three assists, good for six points on the year.
In between the pipes, senior Dryden McKay will be looking for his record breaking 27th career shutout. The current record is held by Ryan Miller, former Michigan State and NHL goaltender, with 26 career shutouts. With McKay just starting his senior year, he has the potential to shatter the record and put it out of reach for a very long time.
Senior Julian Napravnik is looking great on offense as well, leading the team in shots with 16, and is second in points with two goals and three assists.
Coming off a 3-1 start to the season, the Mavericks are set up for success for this weekend.
“We’ve got to learn from it, get our rest tonight, tomorrow, and then get back to work on Monday because we are going to be playing a very quality team in Providence coming next Friday,” head coach Mike Hastings said following the loss to St. Cloud State on Saturday Night.
The times for the games has not been announced yet.
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter