Mavs eliminated after 4-0 loss against Huskies

After being barely over .500 after the first half of their regular season, many were left uncertain on if the Minnesota State Men’s Hockey team would sniff a berth in the NCAA tournament. But despite the dwindling confidence the Mavericks had in their team, the boys went 15-2-1 in 18 games to set up a date with St. Cloud State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Despite the roaring momentum the Mavericks were able to carry heading into the national tournament, their run was stopped short as St. Cloud blanked Minnesota State 4-0 Thursday night.

“I want to congratulate Brett Larson and St. Cloud State for moving on to play on Saturday,” said Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings. “I just have a ton of respect for them and their program.”

Contrary to the 4-0 final, the game was not completely in favor of St. Cloud. In fact, the Mavericks got out to one of the quickest starts they’ve put together all season, as they left the Huskies without a shot until just under 10 minutes into the first frame.

However, the Mavericks were unable to convert on any of the grade-A chances they produced in the first period and took a 0-0 tie heading into the locker room. The Mavericks picked up right where they left off in the second period with several consistent minutes of time spent in the Huskies’ defensive zone.

“We couldn’t really get it out of our end and it extended shift after shift,” said Larson. “As the second period started to go along, we were able to spend more time in their end which allowed us to play our game a little more.”

And, as Larson put it, the Huskies did start to become much more clean and crisp with the way they played and were rewarded with a powerplay just over halfway through the period. To their avail, the Huskies were able to open the scoring on that powerplay as junior forward Veeti Miettinen beat sophomore goaltender Keenan Rancier to put the Huskies up 1-0.

It didn’t stop there for the Huskies in the middle frame, as sophomore defenseman Jack Peart wired a wrist shot bardown past Rancier to put the Huskies up 2-0 with under three to go in the period. The Huskies defense remained perfect and carried the 2-0 lead into the final period of play.

The third period didn’t start the way the Mavericks had opened the first two, but luckily kept the Huskies off the board early. With just under seven minutes remaining in the game, an unfortunate bounce in favor of husky forward Zach Okabe saw St. Cloud tally an insurance marker, virtually icing the game.

The real icing on the cake for the Huskies came with 3:16 left on the clock as fifth-year forward Grant Cruikshank picked up the empty netter en route to the Huskies’ first-round tournament win. Senior goaltender Jaxon Castor tallied 34 saves on the night for his fourth shutout this season.

“We couldn’t find a way to put one past Castor, he played a really good game,” said senior Maverick forward Cade Borchardt. “We tried to keep chipping away at it, but unfortunately it didn’t go our way tonight.”

Write to Karson Buelow at

Header Photo: MSU Men’s Hockey team is eliminated from the NCAA tournament after a 4-0 loss against St. Cloud State Thursday, March 23. (Dylan Engel)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.