USA beats Finland, Mavericks prepare for Bowling Green

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Through the month of February, your weekly edition of Maverick Hockey Quick Hits will also include an update on the US men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams. And with the women beginning group action today, that’s where we begin.

Mary Rominger: Rob, a 5-2 victory for Team USA over Finland.

Rob Clark: Just an impressive statement right off the bat for Team USA, outshooting Finland 52-21, all-around great performance for Team USA right off the bat.

MR: An unfortunate blow to the team’s roster, ten minutes into the game losing three-time Olympian and Brianna Decker to a leg injury and if anyone knows what Decker has contributed to the national team, this will be a significant loss.

RC: That one really hurts for Team USA, Decker 146 appearances for the national team and 170 points. Just an incredible player, it’ll be the next player up for Team USA as we move through group play.

MR: Right Rob, that depth includes 13 returnees from the 2018 Gold medal team, so next up Team USA will take on the Russians on Feb. 5 as a part of the group competition. Then, as for the men’s team, they’ll take on China on Feb. 10. Switching the conversation over to the men’s hockey team, picked up a non-conference sweep over Arizona State to maintain the top spot in the nation.

RC: Five-game winning streak for the Mavericks and what a way to send off the two Olympians, head coach Mike Hastings and Nathan Smith with that sweep ahead of those two heading out to Beijing for the Olympics.

MR: A silent contributor for this team, Julian Napravnik. I say silent just because of the depth that this Maverick Hockey team has, but he was tabbed CCHA forward of the month and he’s right up there in the statistics with the team leader in points Nathan Smith.

RC: 33 points for Napravnik this year, very dynamic forward. We’ve seen this from Julian his entire Maverick career and it’s just nice to see him healthy this season and having that complete month in January really sticking out as far as the assists, creating a lot of different opportunities and also able to capitalize in front of the net at a very high rate.

MR: Next up, this MSU hockey team will take on conference opponent Bowling Green, a series that has been fun to watch previously, but most recently MSU swept Bowling Green earlier in the season.

RC: Whenever the Mavericks and Falcons meet, that’s always a match-up that I have circled, it’s always a pretty chippy and entertaining game. The Mavericks ran away with it earlier in the year, but I expect a close series here especially being on the road at Bowling Green and just see how the Mavericks are able to perform in that kind of atmosphere.

MR: Transitioning the conversation now to the MSU women’s hockey team, was swept by fifth-ranked UMD this past weekend but played a close series down by just a goal through most of the first game until a third period insurance goal by the Bulldogs to lose 4-2 and then game two, MSU tied it up in the second period before allowing three third period goals, so the theme there is just playing a full game and not letting up in the third period.

RC: MSU is able to hang with the Bulldogs, but just like you said, need the consistency to make that a closer game there in the third period instead of giving up three goals. Just need a little more consistency, and it doesn’t get any easier with Ohio State coming up.

MR: Yup, 19-5 Ohio State ranked second in the nation, and earlier in the season when these two teams met Ohio State swept the Mavericks, but it was an interesting situation without Calla Frank being in the net and looking to an MSU tennis player, so we’ll see how Calla Frank is able to change the dynamic in this upcoming series.

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