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Minnesota State returns home for conference play

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:35 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Welcome back for this week’s edition of Maverick Hockey Quick Hits.

We’re nearing the halfway point of the college hockey season. The Maverick men’s and women’s teams return home for matchups with Michigan Tech and St. Thomas, respectively, this weekend.

MEN’S ANALYSIS

Mary Rominger: Starting us off Rob, we’ve seen teams across the country impacted by illness taking our bunches of players for nightly competition. Most recently saw it with the Maverick men on Saturday, the week before we saw it with the Maverick women and that puts a damper when you’re trying to win hockey games.

Rob Clark: It does, but thankfully for the MSU men’s hockey team a lot of depth on that team and you know for the coaching staff, it’s like ok, we have a chance to evaluate some of this new and upcoming talent and I think they were able to take a lot away from that series against Lake Superior State even though they were missing so many key pieces especially in game one.

MR: We saw some stand out performances, a freshman in net Keenan Rancier was between the pipes, he allowed just one goal, it was a 1-0 win for Lake Superior State in the first game of that series and we also saw Tanner Edwards, a freshman forward who had a goal and a shot on net to receive conference rookie of the week. As you said, we’re seeing that depth. Talking about game two, Coach Mike Hasting preaches how does a team respond when they’re faced with adversity? They come back and win 3-0, Dryden McKay picks up his 30th career shutout, the sixth shutout of the season for the Mavericks. We saw some quality hockey.

RC: In game two it seemed like this team really responded and having Dryden McKay back in net really helps a lot of the issues that they had in game one. I think it gives a lot of confidence to the team and everyone kind of comes through and can pitch another shutout, number 30 for Dryden McKay, continuing to add to the men’s hockey shutout record.

MR: Looking ahead, the Mavericks play Michigan Tech this weekend, they enter this series second in the country in face-off percentage and in goals scored with 65, so things are moving in the right direction.

RC: Michigan Tech, in net Blake Pietella very solid goaltender for them. I’m really looking forward to that matchup between McKay and Pietella, because Pietella has done a really good job of keeping this team in every single game this year and he’s a big part of the reason why the Huskies have won four of their last five and they’ve got an 8-5 overall record coming into this game and you don’t really see Michigan Tech get blown out by anybody in those losses, it’s all very close games and I’m expecting a very competitive two games here inside of Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center when Michigan Tech comes to town.

WOMEN’S ANALYSIS

MR: Well, if anyone knows what the Mavericks went through this past weekend, it’s the Maverick women. They also faced a situation two weeks ago against Ohio State where they were without netminder Calla Frank and a handful of players in the lineup, so they looked to MSU tennis player Avery Stilwell in net and we saw the Mavericks put up a strong fight in that first game, but lost 9-0 in the second game, but overall they had a weekend to relax and get players ready to go for the upcoming matchup and they’ll next play a home-and-home series with St. Thomas.

RC: MSU really needed that bye, especially considering everything you talked about, shout out to Stilwell for stepping up and being able to have that be a couple of competitive games against the number-two ranked team in the nation, but MSU you have these two games against St. Thomas. This is a great chance to get back in the win column and give them some confidence as we head into the holidays here.

MR: Absolutely, 84-total saves in that weekend series for Avery Stilwell. The Maverick women are currently 5-9 on the season, St. Thomas 4-9-1, so both coming in with similar records and entering the series. The Mavericks’ strong suit has been their power play, so we’ll see if that continues. That’ll do it for your Maverick Hockey Quick Hits, stay with us.

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