The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 8, 2013

Hastings' roster continues to take shape in 2nd year

Mike Hastings certainly put his stamp on the Minnesota State men’s hockey team in his first season as coach.

He led the Mavericks to 24 wins, a Division I-era team record, and had them back in the WCHA Final Five and NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade.

There is little doubt that Hastings had an influence on the players he inherited when he took over the program, most noteably Eriah Hayes, but also Matt Leitner and Josh Nelson, to name a couple.

Hayes became more disciplined — his penalty minutes dropped and his goals went up — and an important locker-room leader. Leitner, already a proven scorer as a freshman, got better at the defensive end of the ice, buying into the new coach’s demands. Nelson quickly became a much-needed, reliable, minutes-eating defenseman.

Hastings maintained continuity from the previous season by keeping assistant coaches Darren Blue and Todd Knott on his staff. The two were heavily involved in the recruitment of a freshmen class that ended up having a massive impact on last year’s team. The Mavericks wouldn’t have played so deeply into the postseason without goaltender Stephon Williams; forwards Teddy Blueger, Dylan Margonari, Bryce Gervais and Brett Knowles; and defenseman Jon Jutzi.

The only rookie to commit to the Mavericks after Hastings was hired was Taylor Herndon. He played just 12 games but was named the team’s most-improved player after the season ended.

This year’s team, which made its debut on Sunday night with a 7-1 exhibition victory over Lethbridge, includes Hastings’ first full recruiting class, players again culled by Knott and Blue. It’s a group, the head coach said, that he expects to make an impact not unlike last year’s rookies did.

That’s a tall task, but, once again, an important one if the Mavericks are to meet the high expectations placed up on them this preseason — possibly win the WCHA, return to the Final Five, go deeper into the NCAAs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
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
James Rodriguez Joins Real Madrid Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Morosi: Lee could be a tough sell Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits English Captain Steven Gerrard Retires From International Soccer - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th 105-year-old woman throws first pitch A Stormtrooper and Chewbacca invade D-backs game Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Boomer: Lovie, Bucs to surpirse in 2014 British Open Round 2 in 60 Seconds Gasol: Money wasn't the priority The British Open in 60 Seconds Who SI's Michael Bamberger is Picking to Win at Royal Liverpool — And Why