Beavers and Huskies keep it close with men’s hockey

The Minnesota State Men’s Hockey team has played four games in the past nine days, and picked up a win and three losses against two conference opponents.

After a series split with the Bemidji State Beavers and being swept by the Michigan Tech Huskies, the Mavs now have a record of 5-6-1 as they head into the month of December. 

The Mavs’ first game against the Beavers was a 5-1 victory as the Mavs scored three goals in the final period to secure the win. Josh Groll and Alex Tracy each had standout performances in the win. Groll scored two points, picking up his first assist and scored goal of the season, energizing the Mavericks. His assist gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead, and his goal would end up being the game-winner as the Mavs went up 2-0. Tracy posted 31 saves, his second-best performance of the year.

“I thought we found some bend but don’t break moments and that changed the tide a little bit and capitalized on big goals,” head coach Luke Strand said in a press conference posted to the Maverick Athletics website. “Groll was outstanding and gave us that push. Those are big moments to be able to turn defense into offense and score. Tracy was great tonight. He gave us a backbone and made some monster saves at the end. They (Bemidji State) have a talented group and they work hard offensively so I was glad Tracy worked hard to find pucks.”

The next day, the Mavs started out hot, scoring five first period goals, but fell short in the end as the Beavers left Mankato with a 7-6 win. The difference would be the Beavers’ ability to score in the third period, as they scored the final three goals, all in the third period while the Mavs failed to capitalize on their fast start.

“As a group we just didn’t get the job done,” said Strand. “From myself to the players, we didn’t execute well enough. We had way too many breakout turnovers and credit to Bemidji State for their pressure. It was at our fingertips but we just didn’t do enough to win.”

They would have six days over the holiday until they took on the Huskies on Black Friday.

As they returned to the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center, the Mavs were prepared for another close game with Michigan Tech – and that’s exactly what they got. As Ryland Mosley scored the game-winning goal with six seconds left in overtime, the Huskies claimed the first game of the series in a thrilling 3-2 loss for the Mavs.

“The second half, I liked our game,” said Strand. “We did some good things, played more aggressive, and battled. They’re a good team. The overtime part we can fix.”

Keenan Rancier returned to action Friday night, and he made 34 saves in his first start of the season. 

“I was extremely happy for Rancier,” Strand said. “It’s a tough go given the layoff and I thought his performance was excellent. I thought he showed determination to lean on his experience and the fact that he’s been through this before. He didn’t panic when goals went in early and he stood tall for us.”

The next day, the Mavs were able to score goals late in the third period, but it was too late. In a game that ended in the same 3-2 score in favor of the Huskies, two third period goals were not enough for the Mavs to muster a series split. Alex Tracy returned to action and he recorded 25 saves in the loss.

“I thought we increased our competitiveness and the game went on in all three zones,” said Strand. “Tip our hat to Tech for playing as a group and staying to their structure the way they do. I thought our second and third were a couple of our better periods of the year.”

The Mavs will play their first games in the month of December later this week when they travel to Lake Superior State for another CCHA conference clash.

Header Photo: Sam Morton snapped a seven-game point streak after being held off the scoresheet Saturday. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)

Write to Hayden Lee at

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