Series Preview: Minnesota State Mankato

In-state rivals Minnesota and Minnesota state faceoff on Friday at Mariucci Arena and will move to the Verizon Wireless Center for Saturday's contest. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. CT.

Minnesota State (2-2-2 overall, 0-2-0 WCHA) at Minnesota (4-1-0 overall, 1-1-0 WCHA)
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Mariucci Arena. Mankato, Minnesota – Verizon Wireless Center
Friday, Saturday 7:00 p.m. CT – Fox Sports North

PREGAME NOTES

Storyline
The Gophers got off a slow start in the WCHA, splitting the series with Michigan Tech two weeks ago. Likewise, the Mavericks had a rough start in the conference, losing a pair of 5-1 contests at St. Cloud State. Both teams will look to establish themselves in one of the most competitive conferences in hockey with a strong weekend against in-state rivals.

Season to Date
Minnesota State has a win and a tie in each of their first two series against Alabama-Huntsville and RPI. The Mavericks also hold a 7-1 exhibition win against Lethbridge.

Coaching Preview
Mike Hastings is in his first year on the bench for Mankato. Hastings has spent time as the associate head coach for Nebraska-Omaha under Dean Blaise. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Gophers during the 2008-2009 season. Hastings gained notoriety as the head coach of the Omaha Lancers of the USHL where he compiled a record of 529-210-56.

Last Meeting
Last year, the Gophers swept the visiting Mavericks, 4-2 and 3-2. The last time the Gophers played in Mankato they came away with zero points, losing 3-2 and 2-1 during the 2010-2011 season.

Series History
The Gophers hold the advantage in the all-time series by a tally of 30-7-6.

Players to Watch
#18-Matt Leitner-F: The 5-foot-9 sophomore is leading the Mavericks in scoring with one goal and six assists on the year. He is also tops on the team with 23 penalty minutes.

#7-Zach Palmquist-D: Palmquist, a South St. Paul native, is a quick and highly skilled offensive defenseman. Last season he totaled six goals and 16 assists for 22 points.

Background:
Location: Mankato, Minnesota
Enrollment: 13,547
Conference: WCHA
Mascot: Maverick
Colors: Purple and Gold
Coach: Mike Hastings (1st Season)


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