By: Matt Dresens
Coming off an explosive 7-1 exhibition game win over Acadia in which seven different Terriers netted goals, Boston University will open their regular season schedule with a pair of games in Mankato, Minnesota against the defending WCHA regular-season champion Minnesota State Mavericks on Friday and Saturday.
Mankato came into Agganis last season and swept the Terriers in resounding fashion, outscoring BU 9-3 in two games. From there, the Mavericks carried momentum and went on to have a strong season. At one point, they were unbeaten in 14 straight, a streak that started in mid-January and ended in the WCHA playoffs, where there were bounced by Michigan Tech 2-1 in a best of three series.
The Mavericks went from not losing in 14 consecutive games to losing in their last three. Michigan Tech overcame a 1-0 series deficit to win 2-1 in overtime of game 3, advancing in the WCHA playoffs. Mankato still was a lock to make the NCAA’s, where they bowed out to the eventual national champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime.
This season, Mike Hasting’s Mavericks have once again been selected to take home the WCHA crown. In fact, Mankato has won 151 games in the last 6 season. That is tops in the NCAA.
Minnesota State did lose a pair of goalies off last year’s roster. Former Terrier and grad transfer Connor LaCouvee posted excellent numbers in 2017-18 and backup Jason Pawloski signed a pro contract following the conclusion of last season.
In a season preview article on College Hockey News, Hastings mentioned, “losing Connor LaCouvee from last year, we’re very unproven back at the goaltending position, which is the most important position you can have on a team.”
In their exhibition matchup with Mount Royal last weekend, Mankato rolled to a 7-3 win.
Scouting the Mavericks
Per usual, Mankato will bring an older, stronger team than most schools in the NCAA. The average age on their roster is a full two years older than the Terrier’s roster at twenty-two years and four-months old. Last season, BU was outworked and outmuscled by Mankato and the immaturity showed.
Junior Captain and Mannheim, Germany native Marc Michaelis is the Maverick’s top returning scorer. Last season, he finished 3rd on the roster in scoring with 40 points in 36 games played. As a freshman a year ago, Jake Jaremko posted 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points and Junior Parker Tuomie registered a team-high 28 assists last season.
“They are probably the best-coached team in the country,” added BU Head Coach Albie O’Connell. “They do a great job of preparing those guys. They have an older veteran team and lost a few key contributors, but they have the depth of their team back. They are going to be a tough test and we are going to have to fight for every inch.”
All three goalies, Dryden McKay, Mathias Israelsson and Jacob Berger saw action against Mount Royal last Saturday, each of them playing just one period. None of the three have ever played a regular season game in a Mankato uniform. Both Berger and McKay are freshman, while Israelsson is a senior grad transfer from Northern Michigan. Israelsson appeared in 11 games as Wildcat, recording a career .894 save percentage and a 2.88 goals against average.
This is BU’s first ever trip to Mankato for a game. Last year’s series was the first time the two teams had ever played.