New-Bs playing big roles: Burgess, Borchardt have stepped into big roles for Minnesota State
Todd Burgess and Cade Borchardt have become mainstays in the Minnesota State men's hockey lineup early this season. They've both earned the trust and confidence of the Mavericks' coaching staff and both are expected to play key roles again this weekend against rival Bemidji State.
Todd Burgess isn’t new to college hockey, but he is new to Minnesota State University.
Cade Borchardt isn’t new to MSU, but he is new to being a lineup regular, and he’s new to the scoresheet.
Both of them came up clutch when the Mavericks needed a boost last week.
MSU dropped the opener of a two-game non-conference series at Michigan Tech on Sunday, Dec. 6, 3-1. The Mavericks outshot and outplayed the Huskies in that game and were doing so again the following day in the series finale.
MSU had put more than 20 shots on goal by the midpoint of the second period, but hadn’t yet been able to solve Tech goalie Blake Pietila.
Frustration wasn’t setting in with the Mavericks quite yet, but as head coach Mike Hastings put it, they were putting in the work, but “not getting the candy, the reward.”
Burgess finally found some candy when he put the Mavericks on the board with 8:21 to go in the second period.
Linemate and fellow senior Reggie Lutz carried the puck into the Tech zone on a 2-on-1 rush with Burgess to his right. A Tech defender poked the puck away from Lutz and another Tech defender overskated it. That allowed Jake Jaremko to pick it up in the left circle. He fed Burgess, who was camped out at the top of the crease. Burgess didn’t miss; he one-timed it past Pietila for his first goal as a Maverick.
The goal held up as the game winner, helping No. 5-ranked MSU win 2-0 and improve to 2-1-0 . That’s the record it will take into this weekend’s home-opening series against Bemidji State at 7:37 p.m. Friday and 5:07 p.m. Saturday at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.
Burgess, a 6-feet-2, 179-pound senior winger, has been on a line with Lutz and Jaremko for all three games this season; it’s the only Mavericks line that hasn’t been broken up.
“He’s got a special release and he likes to shoot it,” MSU head coach Mike Hastings said of Burgess. “A lot of players at our level, you want them to do what they do best, especially someone who shoots like that.
“Reggie Lutz has a special release. Burgess has a special release. They enjoy shooting the puck; guys like doing what they’re good at. And Jake is more of a distributor.”
College goal-scoring is nothing new to Burgess. The Phoenix native played the past three seasons at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and led it last season with 14 goals. He joined the Mavericks this fall as a grad transfer.
“He brings a maturity because of the success he had at RPI,” Hastings said. “He’s hungry to be successful. He wants to try to earn an NHL contract and has put in a lot of work on his body and his game. He has that mature piece, too, on the rink and off the rink.”
Borchardt gets his first
Like Burgess, Borchardt has found his name in the lineup in all three of MSU’s games so far.
He has earned the ice time, Hastings said, after playing in just 10 games last year as a freshman, when the Mavericks were loaded with talented upperclassmen up front. The 5-10, 175-pound Burnsville native was a captain with Sioux Falls of the USHL in 2018-19. He registered four shots on goal and two blocked shots in limited time at MSU last season.
Borchardt was listed as the extra skater in MSU’s 5-0 season-opening win at Bemidji State on Nov. 22. He played on the left wing with center Shane McMahan and winger Walker Duehr in the first game at Michigan Tech, then was elevated onto a line with the team’s top two returning scorers, center Nathan Smith and winger Lucas Sowder, for the series finale on Dec. 7.
“He’s playing with confidence,” Hastings said of Borchardt. “I’ve really liked him. He’s taken a step physically from a year ago to this year. That breeds confidence when you know you’ve put in the work and get rewarded for it.”
Borchardt had an assist against Bemidji State on freshman defenseman Jake Livingstone’s first college goal. In Game 2 at Tech, Borchardt delivered his first college goal, and it gave MSU some breathing room. Eight minutes after Burgess scored his first goal as a Maverick, Borchardt collected a rebound of a shot by Smith and slid it past Pietila for a 2-0 lead.
“He’s having some success,” Hastings said of Borchardt. “He has a goal and an assist in three games and he’s taken on the role of killing penalties for us, too. With guys like Marc Michaelis, Josh French and Nick Rivera leaving (after last year), he’s stepped into that role, working with coach Knott, and has done well with that opportunity.”
Happy to be home
Burgess, Borchardt and the Mavericks are scheduled to play their first home games of the season this weekend against Bemidji State.
No fans will be permitted, but the games will be live-streamed on FloHockey.TV.
“The guys are extremely excited about just playing,” Hastings said. “One thing that is a little unique now in our COVID times … last weekend we played Sunday-Monday. If someone told us we could play Monday-Tuesday next week, the guys would be all for it.”
MSU has gone 7-3-0 against Bemidji State in the past two-plus seasons (see the chart at bottom of this story). A year ago, the Mavericks and Beavers battled down to the final day of the regular season, before a 4-1 MSU win at Bemidji clinched the WCHA regular-season title for the Mavericks.
This weekend’s non-conference series will mark the seventh and eighth times the Mavericks and Beavers have met within a year’s time, dating back to a Dec. 29, 2019 meeting at the Mariucci Classic.
“We’re really excited to play at home,” Hastings said. “All of us in our peer group of coaches, we reach out to each other … we’re all in the same shoes. We just want to get the opportunity for guys to play as many games as possible.”
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A HEAVYWEIGHT BATTLE
Minnesota State and Bemidji State have developed a natural rivalry as the only two WCHA programs in Minnesota. The rivalry hasn’t lacked for drama or intensity on the ice, either. Here’s a glance at the last 10 meetings between the teams (home team in all caps):
Nov. 22, 2020: Minnesota State 5, BEMIDJI STATE 0
Feb. 29, 2020: Minnesota State 4, BEMIDJI STATE 1
Feb. 28, 2020: BEMIDJI STATE 3, Minnesota State 1
Jan. 25, 2020: Bemidji State 4, MINNESOTA STATE 2
Jan. 24, 2020: MINNESOTA STATE 3, Bemidji State 2
Dec. 29, 2019: Minnesota State 2, Bemidji State 0
(at Minneapolis, Mariucci Classic)
March 2, 2019: MINNESOTA STATE 3, Bemidji State 1
March 1, 2019: MINNESOTA STATE 4, Bemidji State 1
Nov. 24, 2018: BEMIDJI STATE 4, Minnesota State 2
Nov. 23, 2018: Minnesota State 3, BEMIDJI STATE 2