The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 29, 2012

MSU looking to extend winning streak

                                     Minnesota State  vs. Bemidji State

The Mavericks (5-5-2, 3-5-0 in WCHA) host their longtime rivals, the Beavers (3-5-2, 2-4-2), in the only meeting of the year between the teams. Bemidji State leads the series, which dates back to 1974, 46-37-13. The teams split a series in Bemidji a year ago, with MSU losing 2-1 and winning 5-2.

The 5-hole

Five things to know about the matchup

1. Leading the way: Minnesota State senior captain Eriah Hayes (7 goals, 2 assists) has scored at least one goal in four consecutive games, including three power-play goals, one a game-winner, in last weekend’s series sweep at Wisconsin. “His practice habits are great,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said of the right winger. “Every day, you get everything Eriah’s got.”

2. Killer instinct: After allowing 12 power-play goals in the first eight games, the Mavericks have given up just one — a 5-on-3 goal Saturday — over the last four games. Adding fourth-liners Eli Zuck and Bryce Gervais has solidified the kill, Hastings said, as has improved goaltending by freshman Stephon Williams (.910 save percentage, 2.46 goals-against average).

3. Injury report: The Mavericks are fairly healthy for this weekend. Junior defenseman Josh Nelson (2, 1), who missed Saturday’s game at Wisconsin with an upper-body injury, wore a no-contact jersey in practice this week but should be available, Hastings said. Junior forward J.P. Burkemper remains out with a lower-body injury.

4. Streak snapped: Bemidji State broke a five-game winless streak on Saturday night with a 5-4 home win over Alaska Anchorage, part of a three-point weekend against the Seawolves. Senior forward Aaron McLeod (5, 2) had two goals, and sophomore forward Danny Mattson (1, 5) had three assists in the game.

5. Scouting the Beavers: Underrated senior forward Jordan George (3, 6) leads Bemidji State in scoring, followed by three more seniors with seven points: McLeod, Ben Kinne and Brance Orban. Sophomore Andrew Walsh (.912, 2.69) has played most of the minutes in goal, but senior Mathieu Dugas (.921, 2.53) earned the win on Saturday.

Around the rinks

Minnesota State women: The Mavericks (5-9-2, 3-7-2) will host Ohio State (11-5-0, 8-4-0) in the final home games of 2012. Times are 7:07 p.m. today and 3:07 p.m. Saturday. Senior Lauren Smith (11 goals, 3 assists) recorded her first college hat trick last weekend against Bemidji State and is now sixth on MSU’s career points (72) and assists (40) lists and seventh in goals (31).

Gustavus: Both Gusties teams take on Augsburg in home-and-home series, with the second-ranked women (5-0-0, 4-0-0 in MIAC) hosting the Auggies at 7 p.m. today at Don Roberts Ice Rink. Freshmen Allison Eder-Zdechlik and Brianna Seebold lead Gustavus in scoring, each with three goals and an assist. The men (4-5-1, 0-4-0), fresh off a tie and win out east, play tonight at Minneapolis and host on at 7 p.m. Saturday.

— Shane Frederick