This weekend, the Minnesota State Men’s Hockey team is set to travel out west to Tempe, Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils for their first away matchup in program history. In addition. It will be the first time the Mavericks visit Mullett Arena, the brand new home for the Sun Devils, also home to the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes.
The Sun Devils’ new state-of-the-art facility opened Oct. 12, 2022, and has since been a premier hotbed of sporting events in the state. Despite the energy and atmosphere that Mullett Arena has brought to both the college and professional stages, the Mavericks remain focused and aware of coming back with a possible six points.
“I think we’re all excited to get some nice warm weather,” said junior defenseman, Akito Hirose. “But at the end of the day, it’s a business trip and we’re looking at six points.”
The Mavericks head into this weekend with an undefeated, 4-0-1 all-time record against the Sun Devils, with their most recent matchup coming during the halfway point of last season, as well. The Mavericks swept the Sun Devils 4-2 and 5-3 during last season’s games in Mankato.
The outlier in that 4-0-1 record was a 2-2 tie that happened in 2018 and also happened to be the last time the Mavericks were on the road against the Sun Devils. Despite the convincing series sweep the Mavericks were able to manage last season, this year’s Sun Devils roster has looked extremely different with the addition of several big-name transfers.
“Coach Powers and their staff do a great job bringing in players and developing them,” said Minnesota State head coach, Mike Hastings. “As a group we’re gonna need to be as complete as we can be, and for us we’re climbing up the hill against a tough opponent.”
One guy the Mavericks have honed in on heading into this series is senior forward and Boston University transfer, Robert Mastrosimone. Mastrosimone, a top-three point scorer for the Terriers last season, also leads the Sun Devils in points so far this season with 25 pts in 23 games.
Another big name on the Sun Devils’ roster is none other than former Bemidji State standout, Lukas Sillinger. The Mavericks are no strangers to Sillinger, having played two seasons with the Beavers and amassing several points against the Mavericks in his former years.
Among these two names, the Sun Devils remain loaded with a handful of transfers that bring experience and grit to this newly energized group. The Mavericks will have a tough task on the road, as they continue to be without big names in their own lineup due to injury.
Hastings announced earlier this week that they will be without the help of senior forward, Sam Morton, and sophomore defenseman, Bennett Zmolek, likely for the remainder of the year. The good news, however, is Hastings listed freshman forward, Simon Tassy, as “day-to-day” as his status improves.
Minnesota State will head out west this weekend as they take on Arizona State in a nonconference matchup at Mullett Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. (local time) Friday and Saturday.
Write to Karson Buelow at Karson.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: MSU Men’s Hockey team aims to continue their winning streak as they travel this weekend for a two-game series against Arizona State. (Dylan Engel)