Mavericks begin 2023 with sweep against Wildcats

After a tough, slow start to the first half of their regular season, the No. 19-ranked Minnesota State men’s hockey team was able to start 2023 off strong with a convincing series sweep on the road against unranked foe Northern Michigan. 

Junior forward, David Silye, a name Maverick fans are no strangers to, picked up right where he left off, potting two goals including the game-winner in last Friday’s tilt against the Wildcats. On the contrary, junior forward, Connor Gregga, tallied his first goal of the season in Saturday’s series finale, helping his team complete the series sweep.

Sophomore goaltender, Keenan Rancier, got the nod in net for Friday’s game, hoping to gain a little more consistency during the second half of the season. Rancier was able to do so, as he managed an 18-save performance.

It was the Wildcats that got on the board first in game one, however, as freshman forward, Connor Eddy, ripped a backhander that trickled past Rancier for the all-important first goal of the game. But that lead wouldn’t last long, as Silye scored his team-leading 14th goal on the powerplay to tie the game up at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

Senior forward, Ryan Sandelin, got the Mavericks ahead just under six minutes into the middle frame as he wired a one-timer from the left circle past the Wildcat netminder for the 2-1 lead. The Mavericks would hold onto that lead for the majority of the second period, but a late goal by senior forward, David Keefer, tied the game up for the Wildcats.

Just over 30 seconds into the final frame, freshman Wildcat forward, Joey Larson, took a costly boarding penalty that put the Mavericks on the powerplay early. Silye would take advantage of it as he potted his 15th goal of the season and second game-winning goal of the season.

Minnesota State would tally two more goals coming from freshman forward, Adam Eisle, and junior defenseman, Jake Livingstone, en route to a 5-2 win over Northern Michigan in game one of the series. 

Rancier got the start once again in game two of the series as he picked up 22 saves and improved to 2-0 in the calendar year. But once again, the Mavericks were down early in the game as junior forward, Michael Collela, got the Wildcats on the board just over two minutes into game two.

Senior captain, Brendan Furry, was able to tie things up about five minutes later as he snapped a low shot past the Wildcat goalie for his fourth of the season. Senior defenseman, Andy Carroll, got on the board with a powerplay goal early in the second period which gave the Mavericks a 2-1 lead.

The Mavericks were firing on all cylinders when Furry scored just under two minutes later for his second of the game, making it 3-1 Minnesota State. The Wildcats were able to cut the lead to 3-2 with just under eight minutes remaining in the second on the strength of junior forward, Kristof Papp’s, power play goal.

Gregga restored the two-goal advantage just moments later as he collected a loose puck in front of the net and buried it for a 4-2 lead. The Wildcats answered once again in the closing minutes of the period to cut the lead to 4-3 off another power play goal.

The Mavericks and Wildcats dueled it out for a hard-fought third period, but a late insurance tally by Livingstone sealed the deal for the Mavericks, leading to a 5-3 final. With their series sweep against Northern Michigan, Minnesota State improves to 12-9-1 overall on the season and 9-6-1 in conference play.

Minnesota State will be back in action this weekend as they head out west for a nonconference matchup with Arizona State and their first visit to Mullet Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (local time) for Friday and Saturday.

Write to Karson Buelow at

Header Photo: MSU Men’s Hockey team swept Northern Michigan on their home ice. The Mavs play Arizona State this weekend in Tempe, Ariz. Jan. 13 and Jan. 14. (Dylan Engel)

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