The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker


October 11, 2013

College hockey gameday: MSU at Providence

The 11th-ranked Mavericks open the season out east against the 14th-ranked Friars. The two teams met in January of last season in Mankato with MSU winning 4-3 in overtime and 4-0. Providence won the first four meetings between the two teams, which took place in 2001-02 and ‘02-03. Providence, a Hockey East member, went 17-14-7 last season.

The 5-hole

Five things to know about the matchup:

1. Centers of attention: Minnesota State looks to be strong down the middle of its lineup again, with last season’s top scorer, junior Matt Leitner (17 goals-30 assists—47 points) manning the No. 1 line. Next is sophomore Teddy Blueger (6-13—19), fresh off a dazzling, four-point performance in Sunday’s exhibition victory. Junior Jean-Paul LaFontaine (9-26—35) centers the third line, with freshman Jordan Nelson on the fourth.

2. Decisions, decisions: When the Mavericks left Mankato on Wednesday, coach Mike Hastings did not yet know his full defensive lineup. Junior Zach Palmquist (8-17—25) and senior Josh Nelson (5-9—14) were big minutes-eaters a season ago. But the hope is that the Mavericks have better depth on the blue line this season to help keep those important players fresh for late in the game.

3. Important games: It may be the second weekend in October but the series could have implications five months down the road. Last season’s two wins over Providence helped propel the Mavericks into the national tournament and possibly kept the Friars out of the NCAAs. Recent changes to the NCAA selection process will reward teams for victories on the road as well as wins over top-ranked opponents.

4. Good goalies: When the teams met last season, Providence goalie Jon Gillies missed the series while playing for the U.S. Junior National Team at the world championships. Gillies was Hockey East’s top goaltender and a second-team All-American as a freshman with a .931 save percentage and a 2.08 goals-against average. Across the way will be the Mavericks’ Stephon Williams (.924, 2.00), who was the WCHA’s top goalie last season.

Text Only | Photo Reprints


Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Tour Confidential: What Impact Will Tiger's Absence Have on Golf? Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Marcus Spears: Cowboys Needs on Draft Day Could Bridgewater Make Scouts Look Foolish? NFL Draft: Will Manziel Be Off The Board By Pick No. 4? Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes Race to avoid Premier League relegation heats up The many faces of Mike Woodson Draft Preview: Ego Ferguson Chelsea, Atletico set to do battle in Champions League With The Twelfth Pick, The New York Giants Select... Rosenthal: Trout's contract was a compromise Trail Blazers battle back, overcome Rockets in OT Martinez slams home run to help Tigers top Angels With The Thirteenth Pick, The St. Louis Rams Select... Knicks Fire Mike Woodson Dramatic Moments of the Week: 4/14-4/20