College Hockey Series of the Week: No. 16 North Dakota vs. No. 2 Minnesota State
With college hockey in a full swing, many of the teams at the top show that they are still a force to be wrecking with. Two of these teams are set to face off Friday night as the No. 2 Minnesota State Mavericks welcome the No. 16 North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The two teams are a combined 4-0 as they enter into the two-game set
The Mavericks opened up the new season with a sweep over Arizona State at home. The offense looked really strong as they put up nine goals in the two games. Marc Michaelis leads the team in goals with three, scoring two of those goals on opening night and in seven shot attempts.
The offense has seemed to find most of its success towards the end of games, as they’ve scored six of their nine total goals in the third period this season. This series against North Dakota will be the end of their quick four-game homestand to open the season.
Minnesota State had a great start to last years season, finishing 32-8-2 and winning the WCHA tournament against Bowling Green in overtime. However, immediately after that game they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament 3-6 against Providence. Despite the finish, expectations are once again high for the Mavericks and it shows with their ranking at number two and eight votes for that number one spot.
As for the Fighting Hawks, they also got out to a quick start on the season, sweeping their two-game series in front of their home crowd against Canisius. The Fighting Hawks scored 13 goals in the series, scoring five on opening night and eight in game two.
Gabe Bast, Dixon Bowen, and Cole Smith all tie for the team lead in goals with two, while Jacob Bernard-Docker leads the squad in points with four. After this quick road stretch, North Dakota will return home for a five game homestand where they play Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, and Miami (OH).
Last season the Fighting Hawks barely finished above .500 going 18-17-2. Although North Dakota did finish off the regular season by winning four of their last six games, including one of those being against Minnesota-Duluth who was ranked number three at the time of that game, the Fighting Hawks cooled off at the end of that run. They lost in the first round of the NCHC tournament, getting swept to No. 8 Denver and only scoring two total goals in the series. North Dakota looks to build off that run at the end of last season and they are already showing it to start the new campaign.
When it comes down to it one of these teams is going to have their first loss and although North Dakota has had a hot start putting the puck in the net, Minnesota State has been equally as impressive in stopping it. The Mavericks only allowed one goal against ASU and for this series they should be able to continue with that defensive success.
Prediction: Minnesota State sweeps North Dakota 2-0
Game 1: Minnesota State 5, North Dakota 2
Games 2: Minnesota State 3, North Dakota 1
Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.