NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — It’s been a memorable week for the sport of hockey. We’ll talk about the juniors world cup in a bit, but first we breakdown the competition for the men and women Maverick hockey programs in your weekly Maverick Hockey Quick Hits. To start, we send it to Sports Director Rob Clark and check in with the men’s team.
RC: “Hey Mary. The MSU, men’s hockey team is moving up the national poll to four after a couple of dominant wins to open up conference play. Mavericks beating Northern Michigan 5-nothing, and 4-nothing over the weekend. For this offense, it had to feel good to convert on more of those opportunities. They’ve been able to create a lot of chances throughout games, but have struggled a little bit at times to find the back of the net. And, defensively junior goaltender Dryden McKay picks up two more shut outs. That’s now 18 in his Maverick career which moves McKay into a tie for seventh all time in NCAA history. Now, up next for the Mavericks is a two game series at home against Michigan Tech. The Huskies are the only team to beat MSU this season. And, MSU’s one loss came thanks to a stellar effort by Michigan Tech goaltender Blake Pietila and he will be tasked with trying to slow down this Mavericks offense that seems to have found a groove here in 20-21.”
Mike Hastings: “We had an opportunity to play Michigan Tech in Houghton and as usual it’s a battle. Even though we split, I think both teams could’ve won both games, both teams could’ve lost both games. Every single time we play Michigan Tech, it seems like a real tight series. I don’t expect anything different.”
Jack McNeely: “Dryden is steady. It obviously helps a lot as a defenseman just knowing he is back there. Just so calm and makes the saves he’s supposed to make and some he’s not supposed to.”
Switching gears to the women’s team now.
The Mavericks record doesn’t quite represent the talent that currently plays under head coach John Harrington. To start the new year, the conference announced two of MSU’s standout athletes as players of the month for December. Junior defenseman Anna Wilgren and freshman forward Jamie Nelson. Both Wilgren and Nelson have helped Minnesota State to a 1-2-1 showing in December. Last weekend, the group faced No.1 in the nation Wisconsin and showed tangible progress in the 2-3 and 0-1 losses. This weekend they face Bemdji State, a team they’ve had their most success against this season.