After their only off week of the second half, the Huskies look forward to one of the most important series of the year: Winter Carnival. Tech has their work cut out for them as they host the Minnesota State Mavericks (23-6-1). The Mavericks are coming off of a weekend which saw them sweeping Alabama Huntsville (6-23-1).

Analysis

Since their last meeting with the Huskies, the Mavericks have been very successful winning seven out of eight games. They have also seen the return of head coach Mike Hastings from the world juniors where Team USA placed second in the tournament.  The Mavericks only saw one loss to the Lakers (18-8-2) in game two being shut out 1-0. Their updated peripheral stats are as follows: 12.5 SH% (up from 12.4), 3.76 goals per game (up from 3.7), 21.9 PP% (16th; down from 22.2) and 86.3 PK% (7th; up from 85.5). Coach Hastings has turned to goaltender Dryden Mckay for the past eight games and currently holds a 16-5-1 record with a 1.91 GAA and .921 SV%.

The Huskies are coming off of an off week after taking four of six points from their last series against the Seawolves (2-22-2). Matt Jurusik started both games shutting out the Seawolves in regulation both games. This series will be one of the biggest for the Huskies this season as they look for home ice in the WCHA playoffs. The stakes will be high as they play the first place Mavericks in front of what will likely be a sellout crowd. All eyes will be on Coach Shawhan and the team to see if they can compete against a possible future playoff opponent.

Keys to the Game

  1. Desperation. The Huskies will need to treat this series like a playoff series. There is no way around this; they need to keep the stakes high and not let up.
  2. Core Freshman. Tech freshmen have played a huge role in their early success. They will need to return to their early-season production if the Huskies want to see a seventh Winter Carnival win added to the banner.
  3. Feed off the crowd. Alumni, Students, and the local population will all be attending this weekend. The Huskies will need to take their energy and use it to their advantage. The John McInnes Student Ice Arena will be loud, very loud.

My Prediction

The Mavericks will keep rolling along as they head toward the WCHA—and the NCAA national tournament, for that matter. The Huskies will put up a fight, but they won’t be able to keep up. Mankato wins 4-2, Mankato wins 3-1. Hopefully, the Huskies can manage some Winter Carnival Magic.

How to Watch

Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), and via flohockey.tv (paywall) for video.

Cover photo credit Will Sterrett