Fresh off a 3-0 loss on Friday night in the Desert Hockey Classic, things aren’t going to be getting any easier for Arizona State (14-7) as they take on the No. 3 Minnesota State Mavericks (14-5) on Saturday.
Minnesota State lost its opening game of the tournament in a 4-3 overtime thriller with No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth, who is the same team that eliminated the Mavs in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Mavericks lost two of their top players from last year in Daniel Brickley and CJ Suess, who are now in the professional ranks in the AHL. However, they return a plethora of talent that has pushed them into the top of the USCHO standings out of the WCHA Conference.
Here is a little more to know about the team from Mankato.
What Time/Where to watch
ASU drops the puck with Minnesota State at 7:30 p.m. local time despite the fact that this matchup is not the championship game of the tournament. It will be the second game of the evening, and it can be viewed and televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Players to Watch
The Mavs have four players with 15 points or more. They are led by junior forward Marc Michaelis, junior forward Parker Tuomie, and sophomore forward Jared Spooner.
Michaelis has 22 points this season, and as a team, Minnesota State is top-five in the country in scoring offense, as they are averaging nearly four goals a game.
Tuomie did not play in Friday’s game due to an injury he sustained at Bowling Green a few weeks back, and his status for tonight’s game against ASU has not been determined. Nonetheless, the Mavs still have plenty of firepower.
On the blue line, also keep an eye out for sophomore defenseman Connor Mackey, who is one of the Mavs top defensemen both in the offensive and defensive zones.
Between the Pipes
In goal for MSU, the Mavs have two options who have played a fair amount of minutes. It’s not just a one-man show. Last year’s goaltender Connor Lacouvee graduated after last year’s postseason run, and that has left the netminding duties to be split among true freshman Dryden McKay and senior Northern Michigan transfer Mathias Israelsson.
McKay has appeared in more games this season, playing in 12 contests while holding a 7-4 record. Israelsson has played in nine games with a 1.74 goals against average, including a stretch at the beginning of the season where the Mavs won seven straight games with the senior in net.
McKay played in last night’s 4-3 overtime loss against Minnesota-Duluth, and don’t be surprised to possibly see Israelsson in goal on Saturday against ASU.
The history between these two programs is a short one, and that is because there is no history. Saturday’s meeting will be the first game played between the two schools.
What the coaches had to say about the opponent:
Coach Powers: “Minnesota State is a great team. It’s like I told the guys, if we show show up mentally unprepared like we did today (in ASU’s last game against Clarkson), it’s going to be worst tomorrow. We have to play our style of hockey. We have to stay out of the box. We have to play more 5-on-5, and get pucks in behind defensemen.”
Minnesota State is without its head coach Mike Hastings, who is currently coaching Team USA in Canada at the World Junior Championships.
MSU freshman forward Chris Van Os-Shaw made his season debut against Minnesota-Duluth on Friday after finishing NCAA transfer requirements that made him immediately eligible to play in the middle of the season. He registered an assist in the loss to the Bulldogs. It is probable that he will be back in the lineup against ASU.