By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
The Mavericks (3-10-1, 2-7-1 in WCHA) will head to Minneapolis to take on the fifth-ranked Gophers (11-4-1, 8-2-0). Minnesota State has had some recent success against Minnesota, winning five of the last six games, including a series sweep last season in Mankato. The Mavericks won those game 3-2 and 2-1. This will be MSU’s first two-game series at Mariucci Arena since 2005. The Mavericks are 2-0-1 in their last three games there.
The 5 hole
Five things to know about the matchup:
1. Moving forward: After his team outshot Alaska Anchorage 46-13 on Saturday and tied 5-5, Troy Jutting said his team simply needs to keep doing what it’s doing — just get better goaltending — against the Gophers this weekend.
“The reality is that was a pretty good night in a lot of ways,” Jutting said. “The kids played hard, played smart and did a lot of good things that night.”
2. What? Good injury news? The Mavericks got some this week with the return of junior co-captain Tyler Elbrecht on defense and senior forward Adam Mueller (2 goals, 2 assists) up front. Mueller missed Saturday’s game against Anchorage after taking a hit the previous night. Mueller will return to the top line with center Eli Zuck (2, 3) and ex-Gopher Michael Dorr (1, 5).
3. Lee-ward: Austin Lee (.907 save percentage, 3.34 goals-against average) will get the start in goal tonight, with Evan Karambelas serving as the primary backup. Lee has 14 career wins, including a 23-save, 3-1 victory at Mariucci Arena two years ago this weekend. The Mavericks have allowed 22 goals in their last four games.
4. Shooting and scoring: Minnesota has four players ranked among the WCHA’s top 13 scorers this season. Sophomore forward Nick Bjugstad (15, 10) leads the way and is tied for the national scoring lead, while Kyle Rau (10, 8) is the country’s top-scoring freshman. In between is sophomore Erik Haula (8, 13). Nate Schmidt (1, 16) is second in scoring among league defensemen.
5. Scouting the Gophers: Minnesota is coming off a nonconference loss and tie at Michigan State, its future Big 10 conference mate. Senior goaltender Kent Patterson (.922, 1.99) has played in every game and has a team-record six shutouts already. Coach Don Lucia recently recorded his 300th win with the Gophers. He has 580 victories in his coaching career.
Around the rinks
Minnesota State women: The Mavericks (5-9-0, 1-7-0 in WCHA) will host the top-ranked Badgers (15-1-0, 9-1-0) today and Saturday at All Seasons Arena. Minnesota State has won just once in its last eight games, while Wisconsin is riding a 10-game winning streak. Alli Altmann (.891, 3.10) is the only MSU goalie who has defeated the Badgers, winning at Madison two years ago.
Gustavus Adolphus: The Gusties return from Thanksgiving break to take on Augsburg in a pair of home-and-home series. The men (2-4-2, 1-3-0 in MIAC) will host the Auggies at 7 p.m. tonight. Gustavus is led by senior Ross Ring-Jarvi (3, 3) The seventh-ranked women (6-0-0, 4-0-0) will play at home at 2 p.m. Saturday. Freshman Carolyn Draayer (9, 2) has scored a goal in each game.