Mavericks look to remain perfect in conference play, face Tommies

After the Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s hockey team swept Bowling Green University last weekend in their first conference matchup of the season, the team is prepared to return to battle with a home-and-home series against the University of St. Thomas this weekend. The Mavericks will take on the Tommies Friday at 7:07 p.m. in St. Paul and then close out the series with the finale at 6:07 p.m. on Saturday in Mankato.

The Mavericks and Tommies have had quite opposite seasons through their first eight games respectively. Minnesota State sports a 5-3-0 overall record and 2-0-0 in conference play, while St. Thomas owns a 2-6-0 overall record and  1-1-0 in conference play. The two teams last met in last year’s CCHA conference playoffs, where Minnesota State swept St. Thomas in a best-of-three series during the first round.

The two teams are no strangers to each other, playing each other a total of six times during the 2021-22 season including a sell-out crowd on a snowy Hockey Day Minnesota. The last time the two teams met prior to last season happened in 1996, the last year before the Mavericks made the jump to division I.

But don’t let the Tommies’ record fool you, as they received a handful of transfers from other division I universities heading into this season. In addition, the Tommies have also been able to acquire several highly-rated junior prospects to their lineup.

St. Thomas is coached by Rico Blasi, who is in his second season with the university and has a handful of experience with other notable division I powerhouses. The 2005-06 National Coach of the Year led the University of Miami to two Frozen Fours and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances.

On the other side of the ice, the Mavericks remain loaded with talent up and down the roster, but still have questions at the goaltending position. Both sophomore Keenan Rancier and freshman Alex Tracy have gotten starts in the net, but neither have made a solid impression to retain the consistent starting position.

Of the many notable players to watch during this weekend’s series, junior forward David Silye remains a standout among others. The Arnprior, Ont. native has six points through the first eight games and scored a hat trick during last year’s Hockey Day Minnesota game against the Tommies.

Silye gave his thoughts regarding this weekend’s series against St. Thomas and what to expect. “The rivalry we’ve built in being so close to them is special and they have a fresh team,” Silye said. “We’re looking forward to this weekend and building off last Saturday.”

The Mavericks are coached by Mike Hastings, who is in his 10th season with the program and has accumulated a resume not many others can match. The native of Crookston, Minn. has led the nation in win percentage during his tenure and coached in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Hastings commented briefly about coming off the sweep against Bowling Green and heading into this weekend against St. Thomas. “We faced a lot of adversity over the weekend and it was good to see some guys get their first,” Hastings said.

“Now heading into our last series before break in St. Thomas, their special teams have been good and their powerplay has been dialed. They’ll be a very difficult test for us.”

Header Photo: Minnesota State men’s hockey team faces up against St. Thomas on Saturday at 6:07 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic Civic Center. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Karson Buelow at

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