A fast start and a few points each from some of Minnesota State’s go-to guys were the keys to a fairly comfortable exhibition victory to open the men’s college hockey season on Saturday night.
Practice this week might not be quite as comfortable for the 10th-ranked Mavericks, however, with national powers Boston University and North Dakota looming on the early season docket.
“It’s a huge weekend coming up,” sophomore forward Jake Jaremko said after the 7-3 victory over Canadian university Mount Royal at the Verizon Center. “We definitely have some things to work on, and we’ll go to work on Monday. But we like where we’re at and are excited BU is coming here next week.”
Jaremko, last season’s WCHA Rookie of the Year, had a goal and two assists and six other players had goals. Junior forward Marc Michaelis, the team’s top returning scorer, had a goal and an assist, and juniors Parker Tuomie and Ian Scheid each assisted on two goals, The Mavericks outshot the Cougars 43-17.
“It was a good evaluation for us, really important for us,” coach Mike Hastings said. “That’s our starting point. We’ve got some video and told (the players) to have some thick skin. When we talk about what went well tonight as a team and maybe some different things for some individuals, it’s a great learning experience for us. We’re going to take that and start building.”
If the game was a tune-up for a tough regular-season schedule, which begins on Friday night at home against the eighth-ranked Terriers, it looked like the engine was running perfectly to start as Minnesota State scored two goals before a minute had elapsed.
Just 15 seconds in, on the game’s first shift, sophomore center Jared Spooner scored, converting a turnover into a quick shot from the slot. Forty-one seconds later, junior Josh French made it 2-0, tipping in sophomore defenseman Jack McNeely’s shot from the point.
“I liked our start,” Hastings said. “We’ve talked about trying to get off to good starts, and that was good, especially at home.”
Jaremko, a sophomore center who set a team rookie record with 39 points last season, made it 3-0 with 52 seconds left in the period, redirecting in a centering pass from Michaelis.
The Mavericks added two goals in the second period and two in the third.
Michaelis, who scored 40 points last season, fired in a cross-ice pass from Tuomie at 10:16. Tuomie finished the game with two assists.
With 11.6 seconds left in the period, sophomore Reggie Lutz scored a power-play goal, ripping in a pass from Jaremko.
“We had some guys make some plays,” Hastings said. “There’s obviously some chemistry between Tuomie and Michaelis, Jaremko and Lutz, Spooner and (Nick) Rivera. When you’re putting lines together, at least from my end, I like to work in pairs, so that was a real positive.”
Freshman forward Julian Napravnik scored a power-play goal from Jaremko in the third period. Scheid, a junior defenseman, assisted on both power-play goals. Minnesota State was 2 for 6 with the man advantage. Senior forward Ryan Schwalbe also scored a third-period goal.
The Mavericks played all 27 players on the roster, including the three goaltenders, giving each one period.
Freshman Dryden McKay got the start and stopped all six shots he faced, including a breakaway.
Mathias Israelsson, a graduate transfer from Northern Michigan, gave up Mount Royal’s first goal, a partial breakaway by Ryley Lindgren at 3:35 of the second period, and “made a couple of saves that he shouldn’t have. We left him out on an island,” Hastings said. Freshman Jacob Berger finished up, allowing two goals and making five saves.