Mavs start CCHA play against Wildcats

With the preseason games under their belt with a 4-2-0 record, the Minnesota State men’s hockey team is ready to get conference play underway this weekend, when the No. 3 Mavericks face off against the Northern Michigan Wildcats.

Tomorrow night’s game will mark the Maverick’s first CCHA game in history, and it comes against a team that they are looking to get their revenge against.

The last time the Mavericks and Wildcats met was in the WCHA semifinals, where Northern Michigan put on a clinic against Minnesota State in a 5-1 bout to make it to the WCHA Championship game.

Through their first five games this season, NMU is 2-3 (2-2 CCHA) with a two wins against the newcomers in St. Thomas, a loss in a one game series against No. 14 Notre Dame, and two losses against No. 17 Bemidji State.

The Wildcats are on a three game losing streak, and their schedule doesn’t get any easier with playing the Mavericks in Mankato.

Over the course of the last eight years, the  Mavericks have ha the edge against the Wildcats with an 18-6-3 record, and an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games.

The Mavericks average 3.48 goals against the Wildcats in their contests, while allowing 2.22 goals per game.

Lucky for the Mavericks, goaltender Dryden McKay is averaging just 1.87 goals allowed per game with a .907 save percentage through six games. McKay has two shutouts on the year so far, and one shutout away from breaking the NCAA record of all-time career shutouts (26).

As a team, the Mavericks have allowed just 11 goals this season, while scoring 17. Nathan Smith leads the scoring effort for Minnesota State with four goals and four assists, good for eight points. Smith leads the Mavericks in points and assists, with 16 shots on goal for the year.

Smith also leads the Mavericks in game-winning goals with two on the year.

Julian Napravnik is just behind smith three goals and four assists for seven points, while Reggie Lutz leads the Mavericks in goals on the season with five.

Lutz’s hat trick against Providence in the Ice Breaker Tournament boosted him to the top of the goal scoring list, while he is still yet to find an assist on the season.

After not playing a game last weekend, the Minnesota State Mavericks dropped to No. 3 in the country, with St. Cloud State moving into the No. 1 position after sweeping Wisconsin in a 5-1 win, and a 4-1 win.

Michigan dropped down from the No. 1 spot when they were taken down by Western Michigan 5-2, then barely scraped by in a 3-2 overtime win.

Minnesota-Duluth and Quinnipiac round out the top five at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, while the Minnesota Gophers fell down to seven after being swept by UMD in  a two game bout.

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