A Solid Weekend for Beaver Hockey
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The Beaver Hockey team returned from Colorado with a much-needed three game winning streak.
MINOT, N.D. — After dropping four out of seven games in November, the Beavers are three for three in December. After a two week break it allowed these student-athletes to regroup and refocus after being on the road for hockey more than in a desk for class the first couple weeks in November.
“Looking forward, that little two week break we had really energized us,” junior captain Michael Jordan said. “Life is bigger than just hockey, so we were able to put things into perspective and step back. Yeah, we lost four games in November, but it’s not really a big deal because we want to win games in March. That’s what we are really looking forward to.”
The team has to be proud of the grit exerted on the road trip. These wins put their ACHA record for this season at 13-4-1.
“We played pretty well for all three games,” Jordan said. “That’s what we were looking for was to bounce back after a couple rough weekends we have had, so we were pretty happy with the efforts of the guys.”
MSU defeated the University of Colorado Buffaloes 5-1 on Thursday night in Boulder, CO to start off the weekend in a positive fashion. That win was also a significant milestone in head coach Wade Regier’s career for the Beavers being his 100th win. This season is Regier’s fourth year behind the bench for MSU. Sophomore Brett Nespor stepped up big that game with 4 assists.
“We had to just keep going forward,” Jordan said, “and know that eventually things were going to start going our way. You could just see the mood rise and the energy and confidence go up.”
That confidence traveled with the Beavers to Fort Collins, CO with a 5-1 and 5-0 sweep of the Colorado State Rams. MSU is 4-0 with the Rams this year, including the home sweep back in late October at the MAYSA.
“We were kind of struggling to score there for a bit,” junior goaltender Riley Hengen said, “so it was nice to get a couple [goals] and get that confidence back. Hopefully that will lead to good things the rest of the year.”
The tables have turned in the net for the Beavers. At the end of last season and the beginning of this year, Hengen was injured placing added pressure on senior Wyatt Waselenchuk. With no backup, Waselenchuk stepped up in a big way for the Beavers, standing his ground in net until the championship game last year. With freshman Will McLean on the roster, it took some of the pressure off, but veteran Hengen stepped in net for all three games of the Colorado road trip while Waselenchuk is in Italy for the honor of competing in the Trentino 2013 World University Games representing Team USA. Hengen added three wins and one shutout to his season in net.
“It’s always nice getting to play a couple in a row and get into a groove,” Hengen said. “I felt pretty comfortable the weekend knowing I was playing every single game. It’s always nice to have that confidence in yourself.”
This road trip showcased the mental toughness and patience of the Beaver squad. Just as winning is part of the game, so is losing. Minot has full confidence in their style. The rut the Beavers found themselves in during November was just another storm to be weathered through.
“We just kind of stuck to our guns,” Hengen said.
The Beavers are looking to ride this wave of confidence going into winter break and extending their winning streak against two in-state rivals this week. MSU travels to Bottineau, N.D. tonight to take on the Dakota College at Bottineau Lumberjacks and to Crosby, N.D. on Thursday to face the Williston State Tetons in the inaugural “Crosby Cup”. Both games are 7:30pm.
This is the first match up of the year between the Beavers and Lumberjacks, but Thursday’s game will break the 1-1 record between the battles of MSU and WSU this year. With a shootout victory, the Tetons handed the Beavers their first loss in over a year and first home loss since October 2011 earlier this year.
Both games will be streamed live through internet. We will post this information when it becomes available. Fans can also follow the action on the Beaver Facebook and/or Twitter accounts.
Media Relations Intern
Minot State Hockey