By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — The Minnesota State men’s hockey roster suddenly is a little thinner up front.
Last week, junior forward Corey Leivermann decided to leave the team, and today, junior forward J.P. Burkemper will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip that has ailed him throughout much of the first half of the season.
Burkemper said in a Twitter message that he will miss the remainder of the season and hopes to get a medical redshirt for this year, which would give him another year of eligibility.
Burkemper, a St. Louis native, played in just three games this season. He last played on Oct. 27 at St. Cloud State. He has appeared in 51 career games for MSU, scoring five goals and totaling 14 points.
In this weekend’s series against Providence, Minnesota State had just one forward who didn’t dress, Charlie Thauwald. Freshman Teddy Blueger had not returned from the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, where he was playing for Latvia. Blueger is expected to return this week.
Blueger’s team went winless at Worlds, including in the relegation round. That means Latvia will not participate in next year’s tournament.
With the 4-3 overtime win and 4-0 shutout of Providence, the Mavericks finished unbeaten in nonconference play, going 6-0-2.
Since entering the WCHA in 1999-2000, it is the first time MSU finished its nonconference schedule without a loss.
Besides the Friars, Minnesota State has played Alabama-Huntsville, Rensselaer, Brown and Connecticut.
Shutout No. 3
Freshman goalie Stephon Williams’ shutout on Saturday was his third of the season. Minnesota State hasn’t shut out three opponents in a year since doing it five times in 2007-08. Mike Zacharias was in goal for all of those games.
Williams is now 11-4-1 with a .928 save percentage and a 1.77 goals-against average.
Back to league play
The Mavericks will return to WCHA action next weekend when they host Wisconsin. The Badgers are coming off a series sweep at Alaska Anchorage and haven’t lost since MSU swept them Nov. 23-24 in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin is 5-0-3 since then.
Defenseman Josh Nelson left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury. … Eriah Hayes now has seven power play goals, which ranks tied for first in the nation. … Chase Grant’s overtime goal on Friday was his third game-winning goal of the season and the fifth of his career.