The Mavericks (4-4-0) will step out of conference play for the weekend and take on old league foe and No. 1-ranked Minnesota (6-1-1). The Mavericks are 9-32-6 in the all-time series but 6-4-0 in the last 10 meetings, including a 2-2 record against the Gophers last season. With Minnesota now in the Big Ten, this series marks the first nonconference games between these in-state foes since the 1998-99 season.
Five things to know about the matchup:
1. Johnny Hockey: Minnesota State senior captain Johnny McInnis (3 goals-3 assists—6 points) scored the ninth game-winning goal of his career in overtime on Saturday against Bowling Green. He now ranks eighth on MSU’s all-time list in game-winners. McInnis not only leads the Mavericks in scoring but in shots on goal (31) as well. Next on that list is sophomore defenseman Jon Jutzi (0-1—1) with 19. Teddy Blueger (3-1—4) and Bryce Gervais (3-1—4) are tied with McInnis for the team goal-scoring lead.
2. Between the pipes: Mavericks freshman goaltender Cole Huggins (.964 save percentage, 1.11 goals-against average) will get the start tonight, coach Mike Hastings said. He earned the WCHA’s Rookie of the Week award after his performance against Bowling Green last week. Huggins has not allowed a goal in his last 90 minutes, 54 seconds of action. Last season, Stephon Williams (.867, 3.40) went 1-1 against Minnesota, stopping 62 of 66 shots in those games.
3. Injury report: For the second weekend in a row, the Mavericks again have barely enough healthy bodies to put out a full lineup. Freshman forward Zach Stepan remains out at least another series with an upper-body injury, and Hastings did not report a timetable for the return of freshmen defenseman Carter Foguth (foot) and forward Michael Huntebrinker (arm). Senior defenseman Josh Nelson remains out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
4. Young guns: Three freshmen rank 2-4 on the Gophers’ scoring chart, led by Hudson Fasching (5-6—11). Justin Kloos (3-7—10) and Taylor Cammarata (3-6—9) were part of the United States Hockey League’s top-scoring line, along with Minnesota State’s Stepan, last season with the Waterloo Blackhawks. Fasching, Kloos and Cammarata accounted for four goals and six points in the Gophers’ 5-4 win on Saturday at Notre Dame.
5. Scouting the Gophers: The Gophers lost their first game of the season on Friday at Notre Dame, falling 4-1. They have outscored opponents 35-18 this season. Junior forward Sam Warning (5-9—14) leads Minnesota in scoring. He’s undrafted, but the Gophers have 14 NHL picks on the roster, including junior forward Kyle Rau (1-8—9), all but one of their defensemen and sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox (.924, 2.11).
Around the rinks
Minnesota State women: The Mavericks (3-7-0, 0-6-0 in WCHA) will try to snap a four-game losing streak and win their first conference game of the season when they play at Bemidji State (4-6-2, 1-4-1). Games are at 2:07 p.m. today and Saturday. Junior forward Kathleen Rogan (5-4—9) leads MSU in scoring, followed by senior Nicole Germaine (3-5—8). Senior goaltender Danielle Butters (.907, 3.29) has played in all 10 games this season.
Gustavus Adolphus: The Gusties will open MIAC play this weekend against Concordia, with the men (2-2-0) hosting the Cobbers at 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Don Roberts Ice Rink and the No. 7 women (1-1-1) playing at Moorhead at the same times. Mankato’s Corey Leivermann (3-3—6) leads the men in scoring. The women are paced by Allison Eder-Zdechlik (3-1—4).
This weekend's series 7 p.m. today and Saturday Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis TV: FSN-plus Radio: KTOE 1420 AM, 102.7 FM Live blog: mankatofreepresshockey.blogspot.com Twitter: @puckato