Three points away, Mavericks inching towards sixth straight MacNaughton Cup

32 games later, the race for the MacNaughton Cup all comes down to this weekend’s series between the No.12 Minnesota State Men’s Hockey team, and the No. 11 Michigan Tech Huskies. 

The last time the race for the MacNaughton Cup came down to the final series of the regular season was in the 2019-20 season when the Mavericks defeated the Bemidji State Beavers in game two to earn the trophy outright.

But between the top two teams in the CCHA facing off for the regular season trophy, the Mavericks having won the trophy the past five years, and the furious winter storm raging across the midwest, this weekend’s series has all the details shaping up to be an instant classic. 

With the Mavericks owning a 15-8-1 record in the CCHA and the Huskies sitting at 14-6-4, the two teams are separated by a minuscule two points. If the Mavericks want to clinch the trophy outright, all they need is three points or a regulation win.

If the Huskies expect to win the cup outright, they need to amass five points this weekend coming in the form of a regulation win and an overtime or shootout win. For the two teams to split a share of the title, the Huskies need four points through, possibly, a win and overtime loss.

The two teams met earlier this season in Houghton, Michigan for a tough series that saw the Huskies take four out of six possible points. Eight different Huskies registered points in game one that saw Tech defeat Mankato 3-2.

The Mavericks found a way to battle back and defeat the Huskies in game two in a 3-2 shootout thriller. The story of those games? 19 penalties split between the two squads, proving a physically rough series can be expected this weekend.

The two teams have also been playing their best hockey when it matters the most. Since the turn of the calendar year, the Mavericks have gone 10-2 and the Huskies a promising 9-2-1.

So far this season, the Mavericks have been led by the stellar performance of Hobey Baker nominee and leading point scorer, junior forward David Silye. The Arnprior, Ontario native leads the Mavericks with 20 goals and 14 assists for 34 pts including three points the last time the two teams met.

In addition, the Mavericks have also gotten stellar goaltending performances from sophomore goaltender Keenan Rancier. Rancier, the Mavericks presumed starter this weekend, sits first in the CCHA for goals against average with 1.89.

On the other side of the ice, junior forward Ryland Mosey leads the Huskies with 30 pts in 33 games played. Senior goaltender Blake Pietila has been the Huskies’ go-to this year with 31 games played and a .928 save percentage.

The two teams know that their season isn’t finished beyond this weekend’s meetings. In fact, this could very well be a preview of this year’s CCHA Mason Cup final.

With that being said, the two teams do sit on the verge of the USCHO pairwise bubble in terms of making the NCAA tournament. With the Huskies at No. 11 and the Mavericks at No. 12, both teams know how important this weekend can be beyond the CCHA playoffs.

Puck drop for this weekend’s series between Minnesota State and Michigan Tech is slated for 7:07 p.m. Friday and 6:07 p.m.

Write to Karson Buelow at

Header Photo: The MSU Men’s Hockey team competes for the MacNaughton Cup this weekend in their final two-game series at home against Michigan Tech Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:07 p.m. & Saturday, Feb. 25 at 6:07 p.m. (Dylan Engel)

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