Beavers look past loss; eye No. 1 Arizona State

It was an unusual sight at the end of the Minot State University men’s club hockey team’s game against in-state rival Williston State College on Saturday.

For the first time since Oct. 29, 2011, the Beavers were on the wrong end of the scoreboard at Maysa Arena. The Tetons snapped MSU’s 28-game home winning streak with a 6-5 shootout victory, silencing a typically boisterous crowd.

It was just as silent in the Beavers’ locker room postgame. It had been nearly a calendar year since MSU tasted defeat – a streak of 31 consecutive games that began following a 6-5 loss at Ohio University on Nov. 30, 2012.

“The guys were pretty upset, but more importantly guys were just beside themselves,” MSU coach Wade Regier said. “It was pretty quiet, pretty somber. It happens, that’s the reality of hockey. I think the guys knew they let this one slip away. It wasn’t like Williston State beat us.”

The loss at home stings a little more as it was the Beavers’ final contest at Maysa Arena this calendar year. MSU hits the road for nine straight road games before returning home to face Ohio on Jan. 10.

Regier said it was less of WSC’s system and more of MSU turning the puck over at inopportune times that led to Teton goals.

The Beavers don’t have time to sulk as they travel to play No. 1 Arizona State on Thursday in Tempe. The Sun Devils haven’t lost a regular-season game since MSU swept them in mid-February.

“I think we’re going to be a pissed-off hockey team,” Regier said. “We’re going to be a team that’s really fired up. The fact that we did lose was probably a good thing. We hate to say things like that, but for us we always felt we were high and mighty. We’re going to come out extremely hungry for two reasons: One is to avenge last night’s loss and the second to knock off the No. 1 team, which we did last year.”

MSU junior forward Michael Jordan also put a positive spin on the loss, saying it’s better to come now than at the end of the season.

“It’s early in the year,” he said. “We can use the loss to build off of and move forward. We won’t get so comfortable where we think we’re going to beat everybody. It kind of brings us down to Earth because we know we’re going to have to work harder the next time out.”

With a 36-game regular season schedule, a hiccup was inevitable. The Beavers lost four games last year, including a loss to WSC early in the year, so the defending ACHA Division I champions aren’t pressing the panic button.

“We’re a highly-skilled team, but we can’t rely on that all the time,” Jordan said. “We have to come in and bring our work boots and not just rely on our skill all the time.”

Tauros see improvement in sweep of Brookings

Entering a weekend series on an eight-game losing streak, the Minot Minotauros desperately sought a win.

They did one better, sweeping the Brookings Blizzard to win back to back games for the first time this season. The Tauros scored four goals in the second period on Friday in a 4-2 win that moved Minot into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. Minot’s four goals are tied for the most in a game this season.

“That was good,” Tauros coach Marty Murray said. “Looking back at the goals we scored, it was putting pucks to the net and going for rebounds. It wasn’t anything real fancy, most it was driving the net and banging in loose pucks.”

On Saturday, the Tauros rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit for a 3-2 shootout win against the Blizzard. Minot holds a two-point advantage in the standings over Brookings heading into this weekend’s series at Maysa Arena.

The eight-game losing streak that lasted through October prompted roster changes. The Tauros acquired forward Colton Kramer and defenseman Kyle Kruenegel in a trade with the Minnesota Wilderness. Minot also added forwards Troy Degler and Jacob Howie. Degler and Kruenegel each scored goals in their first game with the Tauros and Howie recorded an assist in both games against Brookings.

“The new players came in and provided a spark for us,” Murray said. “It’s no secret we’ve had trouble putting the puck in the net. It provided a spark and at the same time it brought a sense of urgency to other guys who’ve been struggling a bit.”

Despite a .313 winning percentage, the Tauros record wasn’t much different at this time last year. Minot went 4-11-1 to begin the 2012-13 season before winning eight of its next 10 games.

Minot will most likely be without forward and team captain Tim Donohue this weekend against the Blizzard. Donohue injured his shoulder against Bismarck on Oct. 25 and has missed the last three games. Murray said it would probably be 10 to 14 days before he returns.

Beavers offense comes alive in sweep of SDSU

The Minot State University women’s club hockey team posted its first victories of the season in a weekend sweep of South Dakota State at Maysa Arena.

The Beavers (2-2) scored three goals in the third period on Saturday for a 5-2 victory. On Sunday, MSU tallied the first five goals en route to an 8-1 rout. Freshman forward Ashley Blue and sophomore forward Makayla Sandvold registered two goals each Saturday and senior forward Alecia Power and junior forward Jodi Goforth lit the lamp twice Sunday.

MSU sophomore goaltender Kayla Wakelin finished with 25 saves over the weekend. The Beavers outshot SDSU 90-28.

The Beavers travel to play North Dakota State on Nov. 16.

Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot State University men’s club hockey team and the Minot Minotauros. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.