No. 13 Mavericks looking for critical playoff points in date with the Beavers

After a brief, week-long hiatus, the No. 13 Minnesota State Men’s Hockey team will return to action this weekend against their long-time CCHA rivals, the unranked Bemidji State Beavers. As we near the end of the regular season, each series becomes more critical for the Mavericks who sit two points behind Michigan Tech for first place in the CCHA.

“It’s been a productive off-week for us,” said Minnesota State Head Coach, Mike Hastings. “The guys came back with a lot of energy and now we’re gonna go play one of our rivals in a building that’s tough to play at.”

The Sanford Center, home of Beavers, has historically been an issue for the Mavericks with an all-time away record of 25-25-5. However, it has been a while since the Mavericks made the nearly five-hour drive to Bemidji, with their last road series coming in early December 2021.

The latest official series against Bemidji State was in mid-December this season, with the Beavers earning the series sweep on the Mavericks’ home ice. Sophomore BSU forward Jakub Lewandowski was the most consistent player on the ice between both teams during that series as he tallied crucial goals in both games to help propel his Beavers to the series sweep.

A key difference that we may see in this weekend’s series compared to December’s rests between the pipes for Minnesota State. During the majority of the first half of the regular season, the Mavericks were searching for a consistent, starting netminder after the loss of Dryden McKay.

The last series between the two teams saw freshman Alex Tracy get the nod in net for the Mavericks. But over the last several series, Hastings has gotten comfortable relying on sophomore Keenan Rancier as a starter, which is likely to happen again this weekend.

One Maverick who Hastings has relied on for years is fifth-year senior, Andy Carroll. Carroll was recently honored by the CCHA as Defenseman of the Week after Minnesota State’s series split with St. Thomas.

Priding himself in being a mobile defenseman, Carroll has patrolled the blue line for several years and becomes more aware of his dwindling time in Mankato. 

“This is the time of the year when it gets extra exciting to be at the rink,” said Carroll. “You love going out and competing with your brothers and hopefully bring another championship to Mankato.”

If the Mavericks are going to have a chance at a possible full six points this weekend against Bemidji State, they are going to have to limit the offensive power of the Beavers’ top two point scorers this season. Freshman forward Lleyton Roed and senior defenseman Elias Rosen lead the Beavers in points this season with 24.

Sophomore goaltender Mattias Sholl has been the most consistent goaltender for the Beavers this season. The Hermosa Beach, California native owns a .912 save percentage on the year and 2.12 goals-against average.

The Mavericks and Beavers face off for the last time during the regular season this weekend at the Sanford Center in Bemidji. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. Friday and 6:07 p.m. Saturday.

Write to Karson Buelow at

Header photo: The MSU Men’s Hockey team returns to the ice this weekend after a one-week break. The Mavericks play a two-game away series against Bemidji State Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18. (Dylan Engel)

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