‘We take pride in defending our home ice’: Mavericks set to take on No. 4 Bulldogs

The No. 5 ranked Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s hockey team is set to take on No. 4 ranked Minnesota Duluth this weekend in its second series of the season. 

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. on Friday night and 6:07 p.m. Saturday night.

The Mavericks own a mediocre 24-29-6 all time record against the Bulldogs dating back to the 1997-98 season. Fortunately for Maverick fans, the team has won four straight against the Bulldogs including a 3-0 shutout win in Duluth last New Year’s Day.

All three goal scorers in their last contest are still with the team, including senior forwards Cade Borchardt and Ryan Sandelin, alongside junior defenseman Jake Livingstone. Livingstone was recently honored as CCHA Defenseman of the Week for his performance against the University of Minnesota.

The Creston, B.C. native was the lone goal scorer in Friday night’s game, and also tallied an assist on junior forward Josh Groll’s goal in Saturday’s 3-2 victory. In addition to his two points, Livingstone registered five blocked shots as well as five shots on goal.

After their win last saturday, Maverick head coach Mike Hastings said it’s nice to play in front of a home crowd.. “We take pride in defending our home ice,” Hastings said.

A win against the Bulldogs this weekend won’t come easy, as UMD’s roster is loaded from top to bottom with NHL-caliber talent. But the Mavericks look determined to defend their home ice and maintain the near-undefeated home-ice record that was benchmarked by last year’s squad. 

Minnesota State comes into this weekend’s contest with a 1-1 overall record after splitting its series with Minnesota last weekend. On the other side of the ice, the Bulldogs sport a likable 2-0 overall record after their date with Arizona State.

For the Mavericks, Livingstone, alongside junior forward Ondrej Pavel, leads the team with two points through two games of play. Sophomore goalie Keenan Rancier has been solid for the Mavericks in net with a .902 save percentage and 46 saves in his series against Minnesota.

For the Bulldogs, freshman forward Ben Steeves leads the program with two goals so far this season for two points. Two Duluth goalies have seen action so far this season, however senior Matthew Thiessen looked more impressive during his game against Arizona State with a .967 save percentage and 29 saves.

Of the many storylines this weekend’s series seems to bring, one of the most interesting is the father-son rivalry. Ryan Sandelin’s  father, Scott Sandelin, is the head coach for Minnesota Duluth. This weekend will bring another chapter in the long-standing, but good-natured family feud.

The Mavericks look to improve to 3-1 this season as they take on the Bulldogs Friday and Saturday night at the Mayo Clinic Health System Events Center in downtown Mankato.

Header Photo: ​​Minnesota State University, Mankato’s men’s hockey team will be at home this Friday and Saturday at the Mayo Clinic Civic Center. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Karson Buelow at Karson.Buelow@mnsu.edu

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