It’s early June, that time of year when casual followers of professional hockey enjoy expressing dismay that the Stanley Cup playoffs are still being held even as summer fast approaches.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You say that every year.
Indeed, the hockey season is a long one, but the grind hasn’t hurt the quality of play of this postseason. The Wild finally made a deep run into the playoffs, and the finals between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings has the makings of a memorable series.
The NHL isn’t the only hockey league still playing, and it’s not the only one folks around Mankato should be paying attention to.
In the American Hockey League, the top minor league in North America, four teams remain (as of Monday evening), and there’s a chance that a couple of Minnesota State alumni could end up facing each other in the Calder Cup finals.
Travis Morin and Kael Mouillierat were teammates with the Mavericks for one season, 2006-07, when the former was a senior and captain and the latter was a high-potential rookie.
The two forwards finished their four-year college careers among the top scorers in Minnesota State’s Division I era.
Morin ranks third on the point-scoring list with 133 points in 151 games (13 points ahead of senior-to-be Matt Leitner, who is fourth) and is fifth in goals with 58.
Mouillierat is 14th on the points list with 92 in 144 games, while his 49 goals rank eighth (nine ahead of Leitner and seven more than another of next year’s seniors, Jean-Paul LaFontaine).
The two have blossomed during their pro careers, stopping just short of landing lengthy big-league opportunities. Morin has played in just seven NHL games, including four this season with the Dallas Stars. Mouillierat has yet to get the call.