#8 Minnesota State-Mankato: 2016: 22-13-4. 2017: 9-5-0
Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7. 2017: 4-9-3
Number 8 in the nation…Number 2 in the WCHA
It’s another year, and the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks are once again ranked, despite being behind unranked Bowling Green in the WCHA. The team is led by second year captain C.J. Suess (formerly Franklin), a Winnipeg Jets draft pick who has 4 goals, 12 assists for 16 points. His fellow co-captains (this team has 3 C’s, with no A’s).
Sophomore defenseman Ian Scheid has a team leading 3 PPGs, ahead of Suess, Knutson, McClure & Rivera, all with 2. Daniel Brickley, a junior defenseman, has the honor of being the most penalized player on the team, taking 11 penalties for a total of 33 minutes. Despite this, he has 10 points in 14 games.
Backstopping the team, you have the duo of seinor Connor Lacouvee, who has played 9 games for the Mavs, with a 7-2-0 record, and Jason Pawloski, a junior with a 2-3-0 record in 6 games played, with his two wins being shutouts. Expect to see Lacouvee in net Friday night.
Making for Lake Huron
It’s December here in the Upper Peninsula, and after the last few days, it seems like the snow is here to stay. Before too long, the Sault Locks will be shutting down. The Lakers, with a 4-9-3 record after splitting with the Alaska Nanooks last week, will have to make great strides this week in order get through the metaphorical locks before it’s too late.
Save for a few players, the Lakers looked just bad in the 5-3 loss last Friday night. It showed in coach Damon Whitten’s postgame with Bill Crawford on 99.5 YesFM, stating that some player showed up not ready to play, and saying that they will shorten the bench if they need to. He also noted that the players had called a closed door meeting after the game.
Whatever was said or done in the 20+ hours after the game seemed to spur the team, which went on to win 4-1 Saturday at the Taffy Abel Arena. Let’s hope that whatever was done last weekend motivated the team for this week, since you cannot make a mistake against the Mavericks.
In brighter news, last weekend showed the return of Colin Saccoman, in his first series back since injuring himself in Denver. He did play in the Under-18 game, but that was a single night. He seemed to be testing it Saturday night as the game went on, despite taking regular shifts. It also sounds like Lukas Kaelble is back on the ice, and the team hopes he is back soon. Yuki Miura and Steven Ruggiero hope to make their seasonal debut either next week against the Michigan Tech Huskies, or at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh, PA.
The keys of the game remain the same as they have been: Stay out of the box, and put shots on net. While it is not realistic to get a sweep this weekend (though we will be hoping for such), getting a split will go a long ways when it comes to the teams’ confidence going forward, even more so since Mankato has been a thorn in Lake State’s side since the dissolution of the CCHA, and the realignment into the WCHA.
Laker Hockey has two promotions going on this weekend:
Friday night is Superhero Night: Laker Hockey will be honoring local law enforcement, first responders and military personnel. Get to the arena early between 4-7pm for the EUP United Way Chili Cookout.
Saturday night: Teddy Bear Toss: Bring a stuffed toy to the arena and throw it onto the ice during the first intermission. These will be collected & given to local children in need.
Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights, and can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM in the Sault, online at www.yesfm.net , or you can watch online at WCHA.tv