Wednesday, October 3, 2007

2007-08 Team Preview – Minnesota State

Official Roster
Full Schedule
2006-07 Team Statistics

Top 5 Returning Scorers

1. F – Joel Hanson – Senior – 15 G, 13 A – 28 points
2. F – Jon Kalinski – Junior – 17 G, 10 A – 27 points
3. F – Mick Berge – Junior – 12 G, 7 A – 19 points
4. F – Kael Mouillierat – Sophomore – 8 G, 7 A – 15 points
5. F – Trevor Bruess – Sophomore – 3 G, 11 A – 14 points

Key Losses From Last Season

F – Travis Morin – 17 G, 22 A – 39 points
F – Kurtis Kisio – 4 G, 7 A – 11 points
D – Steve Wagner – 6 G, 23 A – 29 points

2006-07 Scoring By Class

Senior 23 21.70%
Junior 23 21.70%
Sophomore 32 30.19%
Freshman 28 26.42%

Non-Conference Schedule

2 at Alabama-Huntsville – Nov. 2-3
2 at Bemidji State – Dec. 14-15
1 at Nebraska-Omaha – Dec. 18
1 vs. Princeton – Dec. 28
1 vs. Yale – Dec. 30
1 vs. Nebraska-Omaha – Feb. 26

Incoming Freshmen

F – Brett Peterson (Indiana – USHL) / 19
F – Mike Louwerse (Blake High School) / 19
F – Andy Sackrison (Tri-City – USHL) / 19
F – Ryan Galiardi (Alexandria – NAHL) / 21
D – Kurt Davis (Green Bay – USHL) / 21
D – Channing Boe (Green Bay – USHL) / 21
D – Ben Youds (Shattuck-St. Mary’s – USHS) / 19
D – Peter Lompado (Shattuck-St. Mary’s – USHS) / 18
G – Austin Lee (Fargo-Moorhead – NAHL) / 19

Average Freshman Age: 19.67

U.S. High Schools: 3

Breakdown of Current Roster

Freshmen – 9
Sophomores – 9
Juniors – 6
Seniors – 3

NHL Draftees

F – Jon Kalinski – Junior – PHI
F – Andy Sackrison – Freshman – STL

2006 Season Recap

Despite an eighth place finish in the WCHA, a closer look at things reveals the Mavericks were just Sioux points away from third place. Now, obviously there’s a reason they finished in eighth and North Dakota, in this case, finished in third, but it shows that the gap between Minnesota State and some of the upper-echelon WCHA teams wasn’t too great last season.

Like a few other WCHA teams, a slow start ended up haunting the Mavericks. After their first 17 games, they were just 3-11-3. Two of their wins – at St. Cloud State and at home vs. Notre Dame – showed that Minnesota State had the talent to hang with two teams who were at or near the top of their respective conferences all season long.

After their abysmal start, the Mavericks used a mid-December sweep of Minnesota Duluth to finish the season on a 10-8-3 run. They wrapped up the regular season strong, sweeping Colorado College on the road. The next weekend, the Mavericks squared off with UND in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Historically, Minnesota State has played the Fighting Sioux very tough, but the Mavs went quietly in this series, losing both games in Grand Forks by a combined score of 7-3.

2007 Season Preview

When teams like Alaska Anchorage, Michigan Tech, or, in this case, Minnesota State make a run at the upper-half of the WCHA standings, their rosters generally have more upperclassmen than lowerclassmen. However, this incarnation of the Mavericks has 18 freshmen or sophomores, which could be problematic.

Leading scorer Travis Morin, who had a team-leading 17 goals last year, has moved on. The same is the case for defenseman Steve Wagner, who signed a pro contract with the St. Louis Blues after posting 29 points in 38 games.

Three upperclassmen forwards – Joel Hanson, Jon Kalinski, and Mick Berge – will have to lead the way offensively. The Mavericks had four freshmen forwards who had double-digit points last year, and they’ll need to continue their development in their sophomore campaigns.

On the blueline, seniors Chad Brownlee and Lucas Fransen are also gone. Sophomore Nick Canzanello and freshman Ben Youds are two players that have a chance to be successful, both in the short-term (this year) as well as over the course of their careers in Mankato.

Junior netminders Mike Zacharias and Dan Tormey are both back, and should make a sound foundation for this young Minnesota State team to rely on. Based on play from last season, Zacharias has a bit of a leg-up on Tormey, but both will need to step up their play, which could be a challenge playing behind a young team / defensive core.

Key Question

WCHA teams like Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have had to rely on freshmen and sophomores in recent years, and have done so with a great deal of success. However, on paper, the freshmen and sophomores on those teams are typically much more talented than those on Minnesota State. On any given night this season, the Mavericks could have well over half their lineup consisting of freshmen or sophomores. No doubt this will payoff down the road, but will the “kids” be able to adjust to WCHA-play quick enough for the Mavericks to be successful this season?

WCHA Blog Prediction:

Eight place

Previous Team Previews
Alaska Anchorage
Colorado College
Michigan Tech
Minnesota Duluth