After a sweep versus Ferris State University on the road in November, the two teams will face off once again in Mankato Friday.
Defending the home ice is the Mavericks goal for the weekend which seems easier said than done. Most fans believe “home field advantage” is always superior, but for the Mavs, it differs. On the road they hold a 5-3-3 record while at home they’re 4-5-0.
“We want to play well for playoff home ice and for our community,” Head Coach Luke Strand said in a press conference uploaded by the Maverick Athletics page. “Playing at home is not easy when you have school, life and other things to balance. We have to get our guys back on track at home.”
Currently, MSU is 9-8-3 while Ferris State is 6-14-1.
In November, the Mavs swept the Bulldogs on the road. Team captain Sam Morton scored three goals and had three assists in that series.
His 15 goals this season lead the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Ferris State forward Luigi Benincasa has been their difference maker. His four points in their most recent home split versus Bemidji State earned him CCHA Rookie of the Week honors for the third time this year. He tallied one goal and three assists.
His 16 points this year are second best on the team following Antonio Venuto’s 20.
“Ferris is a dangerous team,” Strand said. “They are tenacious and they’re pushing teams to the limit. Their work ethic is high end and they have good execution.”
Following MSU’s series versus Augustana, two Mavericks were placed on CCHA honors list. Keenan Rancier was named Goalie of the week and Evan Murr was named Defensive Player of the Week.
Rancier made 26 saves on 27 Augustana shots to help the Mavericks secure a 2-1 victory Saturday. The Vikings finished 1-for-5 on power play.
“With the amount of net pressure they applied I thought it was one of the moments where Rancier took a big step in his game,” Strand said.
Murr finished the weekend with three assists — one of which was on Adam Eisele’s game-winning goal. With two assists in Saturday night’s win, Murr recorded his third multi-point game this season. He also has one game winning goal, two power play goals, 16 points and 20 blocked shots through 20 games.
If the Mavs pull off a sweep this weekend it would push their win streak against the Bulldogs to seven games. Friday and Saturday’s game will be held at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center at 7:07 p.m.
“I’m excited to be back home. Snow is finally flying and it feels like hockey season around here,” Strand said.
Header Photo: Maverick men’s hockey is back on home ice for the first time since December 8 this weekend when it hosts CCHA opponent Ferris State Friday at 7:07 p.m. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)
Write to Luke Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org