MSU's Edquist stands tall in his first start, helps Mavericks tie Bemidji State
Ryan Edquist could have transferred somewhere that would have offered him more playing time. The Lakeville native chose to play his final season of college hockey at Minnesota State, knowing he'd likely be behind Mike Richter Award contender Dryden McKay. He made the most of his first opportunity to play as a Maverick on Saturday
MANKATO — Saturday marked two weeks shy of one year since Ryan Edquist had last started a college hockey game, 350 days to be exact.
The Lakeville native and Minnesota State University senior grad transfer made it look like no time had passed at all.
Edquist was sharp from the opening drop of the puck, and remained sharp throughout a game in which he wasn’t tested often, finishing with 16 saves as the Mavericks tied WCHA rival Bemidji State 1-1 in a non-conference game at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.
Julian Napravnik scored the lone goal of a five-round shootout to send the Mavericks into the holiday break on a positive note.
“We had to find out … Ryan believed in us a little bit when he had the opportunity to go different places,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said in a postgame TV interview, “knowing Dryden McKay is here, he decided this is where he wanted to come.”
Edquist spent the past three years at Boston College, where he was stuck behind goalies Joseph Woll, a Toronto Maple Leafs third-round draft pick, and Spencer Knight, a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers.
There wasn’t a lot of playing time available for him with the Eagles, so he decided to transfer close to home, to MSU, where he knew that ice time would again be hard to come by while playing with McKay, another Hobey Baker Award candidate.
“Ryan deserved the opportunity tonight and he definitely stood on his own two feet,” Hastings said. “I’m really happy for him. He took a chance on us and it’s great to see him go out there and be successful.”
Edquist certainly made the most of his first start since Jan. 4, when he made 26 saves in Boston College’s 8-3 win against Vermont. Saturday, in a different uniform, he continued his strong play and backstopped the No. 5-ranked Mavericks (3-1-1) to a tie in their third meeting this season against Bemidji State. Seven of the past nine meetings between the WCHA rivals have been decided by two goals or fewer.
“I’m super happy for him,” said Napravnik, who had two goals and an assist in MSU’s 5-4 win on Friday night . “He practices and is grinding every day. In the shootout he showed us he can be the man and a good substitute for Dryden.”
Edquist’s start Saturday was just his fifth appearance since the start of the 2018-19 season. It also marked MSU’s first overtime game since Feb. 1, when it earned a 2-2 tie at Alaska-Anchorage after trailing 2-0 into the final minute of the game. Parker Tuomie scored with 56 seconds to go in the third period and Ian Scheid scored with less than a second remaining to force overtime that night. That game officially ended as a tie, but MSU went on to earn the extra point in the WCHA standings in 3-on-3 overtime when Scheid scored again.
There was no extra point up for grabs and there were no such dramatics on Saturday, just a tight-checking game between two teams that know each other well and didn’t give one another a lot of open ice. It was a stark contrast from Friday’s game that saw the teams combine to score six goals in the second period alone.
“It was a little different game tonight,” Hastings said. “It took us a bit to get going in the first period, but after that I thought we got our legs underneath us, possessed some pucks and had a better push over the second and third periods.”
Bemidji State opened the scoring 12:06 into the game when Tyler Jubenvill fired a shot from the high slot that was redirected by Lukas Sillinger and fluttered over Ryan Edquist’s shoulder.
But for a second straight night the Mavericks had a quick response.
MSU gained possession on the ensuing faceoff and sent the puck deep into the Beavers’ zone. An errant BSU pass was intercepted along the wall near the left circle by Jake Jaremko, who fed Reggie Lutz at the top of the crease. Lutz turned and tucked the puck around Zach Driscoll’s outstretched right leg to tie the score just 18 seconds after Bemidji State had taken its first lead of the weekend.
That capped the scoring in a game in which MSU outshot the Beavers 41-17.
“Both of them are good hockey players and they have great chemistry because of their history well before they got here,” Hastings said of Lutz and Jaremko, who grew up together and were teammates at Elk River High School. “I’d say if you asked either of them who their best friend is, they’d say the other. They do a lot of things together and you can see that chemistry transfers to the ice sheet.”
Both teams had quality chances down the stretch and in overtime, but the goalies came up big. Driscoll made 19 of his 40 saves in the third period and OT.
After both goalies stopped the first four shooters they faced in the shootout, Napravnik skated in slowly and took a wide angle to bear down on Driscoll. He skated the puck to the middle of the ice, nearly turned his back to the Beavers’ goalie and faked like he was going to shoot from his backhand. As Driscoll lunged to his left, Napravnik pulled the puck back to his forehand and had a wide open net to slide it into to win the shootout.
“We knew today wasn’t going to be as easy as yesterday,” Napravnik said. “We knew they’d come out and go hard and made a push right away and I think we stuck to it pretty good. We got back to our game in the second and third periods and grinded it out that way.”
MSU is now off until after the holiday break. The Mavericks next scheduled games are a Jan. 2-3 series at Northern Michigan. Their next home games are set for Jan. 8-9 against Michigan Tech.
Sowder, Carroll out again
For a second straight night, sophomore forward Lucas Sowder and junior defenseman Andy Carroll were not in the lineup. Hastings didn't give a reason as to why they were out this weekend, but when asked specifically about Sowder, Hastings said he's looking forward to having the team's top returning scorer back in the lineup after the holiday break.
""This weekend was important for us," Hastings said. "We needed to give some guys some opportunities to see what they can do. Lucas wasn't in the lineup. He's someone I'm hoping to see here on the 26th happy, healthy and excited about the second half."
Sophomore defenseman Colby Bukes took Tony Malinowski’s place on the Mavericks’ third pair, next to Wyatt Aamodt. … Junior Sam Morton, listed as a defenseman on MSU’s roster, made his season debut at forward, on a line with freshman Ondrej Pavel and Ryan Sandelin. Pavel took the place of Shane McMahan at center on the fourth line. … Cade Borchardt was once again listed as the extra skater for MSU. The sophomore forward was used as a versatile forward, taking shifts with MSU’s fourth line and its top line at times throughout the weekend.
MINNESOTA STATE 1, BEMIDJI STATE 1, tie
(MSU wins shootout 1-0)
Bemidji State 1 0 0 0 — 1
Minnesota St. 1 0 0 0 — 1
First period — 1. BSU, Lukas Sillinger 2 (Tyler Jubenvill 1, Brendan Harris 1) 12:06. 2. MSU, Reggie Lutz 3 (Jake Jaremko 5) 12:24. Second period — no scoring. Third period — no scoring. Overtime — no scoring.
Shootout — BSU, Carter Jones (no goal), Ethan Somoza (no goal), Owen Sillinger (no goal), Brendan Harris (no goal), Eric Martin (no goal). MSU, Jake Jaremko (no goal), Nathan Smith (no goal), Sam Morton (no goal), Reggie Lutz (no goal), Julian Napravnik (goal).
Shots on goal — BSU 5-7-3-2—17; MSU 6-16-12-7—41. Goalies — BSU, Zach Driscoll (T, 1-3-1; 40 saves-41 shots); MSU, Ryan Edquist (T, 0-0-1; 16 saves-17 shots). Power-play opportunities — BSU 0-for-2; MSU 0-for-1. Penalties — BSU 3-6 minutes; MSU 4-8 minutes.