Minnesota State adds defending national champions to 2021-22 schedule
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Minnesota State Mavericks men’s hockey team is adding a big non-conference match-up to open up the 2021-22 campaign when the Mavericks travel to take on the defending national champions for a two-game series.
“Our season is going to start, and we’re going to go out to UMass in the first weekend of October. They’re going to be dropping the NCAA banner. That’s one team in the Frozen Four. We’re the second team in the Frozen Four. The next weekend we play here, and we’re playing St. Cloud State, the team that knocked us out, the third team in the Frozen Four. The next weekend, we’re heading up to Duluth for the Ice Breaker. We’re playing Providence who was just outside of the NCAA tournament and their goaltender used to be with our program. Then we’re going to play the winner or the loser, hopefully, the winner of Minnesota Duluth, the fourth team in the Frozen Four, or the University of Michigan, who could have 7 first round draft picks. That’s all the motivation we need. Once the puck drops, we’re going to play one of the more aggressive non-conference schedules in the entire country. You want to put yourself up against the best, and that’s what we’re hoping for that first weekend of October,” said Mike Hastings, MSU men’s hockey head coach.
The non-conference slate also includes a pair of games against Arizona State at the end of January.
MSU is coming off its first-ever appearance in the Frozen Four this past season and offensively averaged close to four goals per game.
The Mavericks did lose a number of key pieces from last year’s squad, which opens up the door this season for younger players to step up.
“We had ten guys depart, we have two grad transfers coming in. Our freshman our in, I know people like to look at it and say Dryden McKay is your rock, and he is, but we have two freshman goaltenders coming in that want to get their piece of the net too. It starts there. We have some defensemen that have come in that will have to play a role immediately, up front we lost very significant forwards when you talk about Walker Duehr, Dallas Gerads and Jake Jaremko. They had outstanding ends to their careers. You have to have some people come in, take those roles, take those minutes. This freshmen class will have to be impactful at all three positions for us to chase the same ideals every year which is trying to win championships,” said Hastings.
MSU opens up the season on Oct. 2 at UMass.
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