MANKATO — The Minnesota State men's hockey team left town Wednesday afternoon for its season-opening series at Providence.
The series, which will take place Friday and Saturday features the 11th-ranked Mavericks against the 14th-ranked Friars in a nonconference series.
"It is a great test for us," MSU coach Mike Hastings said. "It will be a great challenge for our leadership on down, our whole club."
Minnesota State played an exhibition game on Sunday against Lethbridge, a Canadian college team, and won 7-1. Apples and oranges, compared to this weekend, Hastings said.
"I don't think we answered a lot questions after Sunday's game," Hastings said. "I will tell you a lot of questions will be answered after this weekend."
Most of the Mavericks' line combinations this week were the same as they were against Lethbridge.
Hastings said only three players are staying behind: third-string goalie Evan Karambelas, defenseman Nick Buchanan and defenseman Blake Thompson, a transfer who is ineligible until Christmastime.
Hastings has interviewed two people for the team's hockey operations position. The job was made fulltime last year and held by Garrett Lind, who had also done that job parttime and as a graduate assistant. Lind left to pursue other opportunities in the Twin Cities. Hastings said he hopes to have the position filled as soon as possible.
Meantime, the Mavericks have a new athletic trainer this season, Chad Brinkman. He replaces Sean Donley, who left MSU in the offseason after five seasons, for a position at a Twin Cities clinic. Brinkman, a 2012 Minnesota State graduate, spent some time working with the hockey team as an undergraduate. He was an intern at Adrian (Mich.) last year.
The Mavericks received a verbal commitment this week from Minnetonka High School's all-time leading scorer, Max Coatta.