Arizona State (1-1) ventures on the road this weekend to take part in a matchup with No. 3 Minnesota State-Mankato(0-0).
The two-game series will be the opening homestand of the season for the Mavericks. The group is led by head coach Mike Hastings, who was the head coach for Team USA at last year’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championships in Canada.
He has an all-time record of 183-80-21 since he became the man behind the bench in 2013. Minnesota State has proven itself as one of the top teams in the nation in recent years, but they have one dark blemish on their resume.
Since moving to the NCAA Division I level in 1996-97, the program has never won an NCAA Tournament game. Last year, they were eliminated 6-3 by Providence in the opening round of the Providence, Rhode Island Regional.
Regardless, they are still one of the most consistently successful regular season teams over the last five years, and they are a tall task for ASU going into a hostile environment. Here is more to know about the series, and the opponent.
What Time/Where to Watch
Friday’s game drops the puck at 5:07 p.m. local time, and Saturday’s contest gets underway at 4:07 p.m. local time. Both games can be streamed on Flohockey.tv with a paid subscription, or they can be heard online through KTOE 1420 AM in Mankato.
Players to Watch
The Mavericks are deep, skilled, and full of firepower. They return nearly their entire roster from last season with a group that is highlighted by senior forwards Marc Michaelis, Parker Tuomie, and Charlie Gerard. Michaelis had 42 points last season, Tuomie had 40, and Gerard had 30. On the blue line, MSU also brings back junior Connor Mackey, who was one of their top d-men.
Between the Pipes
In goal, Minnesota State has sophomore netminder Dryden McKay, who played in 34 games as a true freshman. He held a 1.27 goals against average and a .927 save percentage with a stout defense core in front of him. Expect him to get the nod in the Mavericks’ opener.
The history between these two programs dates back to last December. ASU tied the Mavericks 2-2 in a game that took place out at Gila River Arena as part of the Desert Hockey Classic. The game went to a shootout that the Devils won, but it’s still registered as a tie. Hastings wasn’t on the bench with his team as well, as he was coaching at the World Juniors.
Down 2-1 with under a minute left in the third period, then-sophomore forward Johnny Walker put home a goal to knot the game at two. Joey Daccord made 29 saves, and ASU would skate away with a statement game against the No. 3 team in the nation.
What Players/Coaches had to say about the opponent
Head coach Greg Powers: “They are good. They are ranked third in the country and they are the exact same team we played last year. They return 97 percent of their scoring, they return their goaltender, and they are really good. They are a legitimate Frozen Four contender, and it’s going to be a great experience for our team to go up and play a really good team in their barn. We are looking forward to it.”
Forward Demetrious Koumontzis: “This weekend facing a No. 3 ranked team, it has got to be like last year. We kind of have to have that underdog mentality, and I think that’s the only way we get a win there. If we work the way we should, we will be fine...It’s a fresh slate. We are a different looking team, and they are pretty much a similar looking team. I guess we know what we are going against, and we know what we have to do. Last year, we ended up beating them in the shootout, but for us, we just have to find our identity with this team and just see what we can do against No. 3-ranked Mankato.”