Hockey faces Minnesota State

Zane Miller and Zane Miller

The Falcons hockey team will play against the Minnesota State Mavericks on the road on Friday and Saturday night in the first meeting between the two teams since Minnesota State eliminated the Falcons from the playoffs last season.

“I’m looking for a team that plays the game really fast,” Falcons head coach Chris Bergeron said. “They’re a team that has a bunch of skill and they’re good on the power play, they’ve got some defensemen that we think we know pretty well. I think it’s as complete of a team as there is in our league. The one thing that seems to be a little bit of a question is who their goalie is, the last couple of years there’s been a guy and this year there seems to be a couple of guys.”

The team is also looking for Minnesota State to be engaged to start the game as well, as the teams have played each other often over the past few seasons and are close in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Standings.

“With where we are right now and the way this year has gone, we’re tied with them for third… so it’s a big series,” Bergeron said. “This rivalry has been created with them, we’ve played them in the Final Five, we’ve played them in the regular season. We know this is a team that’s going to be ready for us. It looks on paper like their year’s been a little bit up and down as well.”

Although the team does not feel their 2-1 loss to Minnesota State in the WCHA Final Five will provide extra motivation, they are still looking to use their situation this season to their advantage.

“I think our guys need to be engaged because we’re running out of games in the 16-17 year and it’s our next opportunity to play games and we’re playing a team that’s really good,” Bergeron said. “If they use last year as some fuel to get themselves up for this series, we’ll take it.”

The team is also trying to focus on this series alone as an opportunity to get a home ice advantage in the playoffs, as well as leave their past results in the past.

“I hope our mindset is that we need to go and give ourselves two really good opportunities to win games,” Bergeron said. “Meaning that the process is right, meaning that everybody’s engaged, both mentally and physically. There’s really no other mindset at this point, we have to leave the standings and the results at the door and let our process and let our intensity and our engagement take care of the results.”

The team feels that they do have a very good chance against Minnesota State as long as they are able to have the right mindset going in.

“I do believe that this is going to be a very difficult series,” Bergeron said. “Our guys need to make sure we’re ready for that. Just in terms of our mindset going in, we’re a team that can compete with anybody, anywhere, if we’re doing thing the way we’re capable of doing them to the level that we’ve set for ourselves.”