This weekend, the No. 11 Minnesota State men’s hockey team returns home to host unranked Ferris State in a set of CCHA conference matchups.
Minnesota State comes into this weekend’s series with its slowest start in the first 14 games since the 2016-17 season. The Mavericks sport an 8-5-1 overall record and 5-2-1 in conference play.
Senior forward Ryan Sandelin gave his thoughts about the Mavericks’ slow start to this season.
“We have a lot of guys that have played in big games and moments and that’s on us to make sure we pass that experience on to the young guys,” Sandelin said. “Experience is the best teacher.”
The good news for the Mavericks this weekend is they will be returning home to a building where they are nearly undefeated this season at 7-1-0. The Mavericks will also be facing a struggling Bulldog team with a 4-6-2 record on the season and no wins against ranked opponents.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings confirmed that senior forward Sam Morton’s injury during the St. Thomas series will keep him sidelined through Christmas and possibly longer. Hastings did confirm, however, that junior forward Josh Groll is ready to go for this weekend.
Junior Maverick forward David Silye has continued to impress so far this season as he leads the team with 16 pts through 14 games. The Arnprior, Ont. native was recently named CCHA forward of the month for his stats through the month of November and is tied for fourth in the nation in goals per game.
The Mavericks’ leading scorers have been balanced on the back end as well, as junior defenseman Jake Livingstone sits in second on the team with 14 pts in 14 games played. The blueliner also contributes well defensively as he is +1 on the season and has accumulated a team-leading 22 blocked shots.
On the other side of the ice, Ferris State has had a wealth of scoring coming from their front end, as four of their top five scorers are forwards. Sophomore forward Bradley Marek leads the team with nine points despite being -9 on the season.
The Bulldogs, despite their low record, have had two very solid goaltenders step up so far this season. Sophomore Noah Giesbrecht holds a .911 save percentage this season and a 2.60 goals-against average.
The Mavericks have struggled this season with slow starts, and last weekend was no exception. Minnesota State let up a season-high 18 shots in the first period while only mustering three.
Hastings spoke briefly about the slow starts and what needs to change heading into this weekend.
“Whether you do well or not as a team, you’ve gotta own what your actions are,” Hastings said. “We have to own what happened in that game and learn from it.”
The Mavericks will take on the Bulldogs this weekend in their fifth conference matchup of the season. Puck drops are set for 7:07 p.m. Friday and 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
Header Photo: Minnesota State Men’s hockey team face Ferris State in a two-game home series Friday at 7:07 p.m. and Saturday at 6:07 p.m. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
Write to Karson Buelow at Karson.Buelow@mnsu.edu