David Silye scores twice as Minnesota State continues to crank up heat
Before a sellout crowd of 4,913 at home, the Mavericks also got a goal and an assist from defenseman Akito Hirose and a 16-save winning performance from Keenan Rancier.
MANKATO, Minn. — Reports of Minnesota State’s demise back in December may have been, as the quote goes, greatly exaggerated.
While far from perfect, the No. 17 Mavericks remained undefeated in 2023, upping their win streak to six games, following Saturday’s 3-1 CCHA victory over Lake Superior State.
“We’re finding our identity, both individually and as a team,” said junior center David Silye, who scored two goals, including an empty netter. “Different lines have stepped up.”
Before a sellout crowd of 4,913 at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center, the Mavericks also got a goal and an assist from defenseman Akito Hirose and a 16-save winning performance from goaltender Keenan Rancier.
The five-point weekend, which included Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory, moved the Mavericks (16-9-1, 11-6-1 in CCHA) within two points of first-place Bowling Green in the conference standings with two games in hand. It also moved them up to 14th in the Pairwise Rankings, which determine the 16-team NCAA tournament field.
“At this time of the year, garnering points in this league is going to be difficult,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said. “It was not perfect tonight, but we had significant contributions from the guys we needed.”
Silye was one of those players, and his two goals gave him 17 for the season, which puts him in a tie for second place nationally. Hirose was another, and Hastings singled him out for his two-goal, two assist weekend performance.
“He’s playing a complete game,” Hastings said of Hirose, the junior from Calgary. “Whether he has (the puck) or he doesn’t, he plays with the same purpose. … He has a special hockey sense … and the detail to his game really shows up on the rink.”
After a scoreless first period, the Lakers struck first, with Jack Jeffers finishing off a rush at 2:34 of the second period.
Hirose finally helped the Mavericks get on the board during a power play late in the middle frame. He fired a point shot that was a bit of a double-doink, getting deflected once by Ryan Sandelin before going into the net off Silye with 1:28 remaining in the period.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Hastings said. “It wasn’t something you’d paint on a picture. But you have to find a way to get that to the net and behind (the goalie.)”
I hope we’re maturing. These are games we gotta win if we’re going to be there at the end.
Early in the third period, at 3:45, Hirose fired another long shot, one from just inside the blue line in the center of the zone. That one found its way through traffic and into the net behind goaltender Ethan Langenegger for the 2-1 lead.
The Mavericks were able to hold that lead throughout the period until Silye sealed the win with an empty netter with 9.9 seconds remaining.
Prior to the holiday break, the Mavericks lost four games in a row at home, two to Ferris State and two to Bemidji State. The losses dropped them into the mid-20s in the Pairwise. Silye said those games were similar in style to this weekend’s against the Lakers, another strong defensive team with good goaltending. But the Mavericks are maturing, he said, and found ways to win this time.
“Just sticking with it, that’s a big one,” he said. “Working together. We have four solid lines, and when all are going, we’re a tough team to beat. But you can’t have a line take a shift off.”
“We had some bumps in the road and were dealing with some adversity,” he said. “I hope we’re maturing. These are games we gotta win if we’re going to be there at the end.”
The Mavericks outshot the Lakers 33-17. Rancier has now been in goal for every game during Minnesota State’s winning streak and is now 10-6-1 with a .914 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average.
The Mavericks go back on the road next weekend for a CCHA series at Ferris State. Lake Superior State (4-19-2, 3-13-1) hosts Bemidji State.
Lake Superior State 0-1-0—1
Minnesota State 0-1-2—3
Penalties: Wilson, MSU (hooking) 2:44
Scoring: 1. LSSU-Jeffers 1 (Bakos 6, Posa 2) 2:34; 2. MSU-Silye 16 (Sandelin 7, Hirose 18) ppg 18:32
Penalties: Venegoni, LSSU (interference) 6:28; Pavel, MSU (charging) 11:08; Jeffers, LSSU (slashing) 18:03; Borshyov, LSSU (holding) 19:08
Scoring: 3. MSU-Hirose 3 (Eisele 4, Pavel 6) 3:45
Penalties: Pavel, MSU (holding) 4:12
Shots on goal: LSSU 1-9-7—17; MSU 7-15-11—33. Penalties: LSSU 3 for 6 minutes; MSU 3 for 6 minutes. Power plays: LSSU 0 for 3; MSU 1 for 3. Goalie saves: LSSU Langenegger 7-14-9—30 (2 GA); MSU Rancier 1-8-7—16 (1 GA).