Hockey Faces #1 Minnesota State in Mankato
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Hockey (15-12-0) faces arguably its biggest opportunity to kickstart a postseason run this weekend at No. 1 Minnesota State (23-5-0) in Mankato. Surrounded by subzero temperatures in the land of a thousand lakes, the nation's top-goal scorers will go toe-to-toe in the series opener on Friday, Jan. 28 at 6:07 p.m. MST. The Sun Devils and Mavericks top off the series on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 5:07 p.m. MST and both games can be viewed with a Flo Hockey subscription.
Both teams boast two skaters in the top-10 of total point scoring - Matthew Kopperud (14G, 17A) and Colin Theisen (16G, 16A) represent the Sun Devils and are both Hobey Baker award candidates.
"Our players are just really excited to go out and play No. 1," said head coach Greg Powers. "They know what it means and they know what's at stake."
ASU comes off of its most successful road trip of the season after winning the final three games on the road against No. 9/11 Northeastern followed by a sweep of RIT while holding them to just one goal in each competition.
"Three (wins) in a row is a great start," said Powers. "Obviously we need to win some more on the road to get in (to the NCAA Tournament) and we know that."
Hobey Baker nominees Theisen and Kopperud fueled the Sun Devil offense on the road as Theisen's seven points have him tied at third in the NCAA with 32 points (16G-16A). The 12-day roadtrip included a pit stop at a career milestone for Theisen, who collected his 100th NCAA point against NU. Kopperud's six points to close out the busy January road trip place him one behind Theisen with 31 points (14G-17A). Kopperud ranks eighth in points among skaters due to many ties, though he has the fourth-most points in the NCAA. Of course, remember to vote daily for Theisen or Kopperud for Hobey here.
KEEP IT COMING ??
— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) January 18, 2022
Minnesota State has topped the polls nearly every week after opening the season with two road wins against then-No. 1 and defending national champions, UMass. The Mavericks have the 11th best penalty kill in the nation at 86.9 percent while their power play clocks in the top-10 at 23.1 percent.
The Mavericks come off of a home-and-away series against St. Thomas where they netted 12 goals in two games. They are 12-1 in their last 13 games, largely thanks to their goalkeeper, Dryden McKay who has the second best goals against average in the NCAA with 1.24 and the sixth best save percentage in the league with .935.
ASU has faced the Mavericks three times before and sits at 0-2-1 on the all-time series. The two teams have not played since 2019 when the Sun Devils were in Mankato against then-ranked No. 3 Minnesota State.
"We're going in feeling really good," noted head coach Greg Powers.
HISTORY VS MINNESOTA STATE (3 games)
October 12, 2019: L, 0-5
October 11, 2019: L, 1-4
December 29, 2018: T, 2-2