by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Troy Jutting
2006-07 record: 13-19-6 (10-13-5 WCHA)
Key Returnees: Joel Hanson F SR., R.J. Linder D SR., Mike Zacharias G JR., Blake Friesen D JR., Brian Kilburg D JR., Jon Kalinski F JR., Mick Berge F JR., Nick Canzanello D SO., Zach Harrison F SO., Trevor Bruess F SO., Kael Mouillierat F SO., Jerad Stewart F SO.
Key Losses: Steve Wagner (underclassman), Travis Morin, Chad Brownlee, Kurtis Kisio
In 2006-07, Minnesota State took a step back from its seventh-place finish in 2005-06, finishing eighth in the WCHA. But that didn't keep head coach Troy Jutting talking about the positives of the season.
"We got better as the season went along," said Jutting. "We had seven freshmen forwards last season who all contributed. It should bode well for the future."
After a 6-12-3 mark the first half of the year, it seemed like the Mavericks would be in the bottom of the conference.
However a nice run in January and February ended with a 7-5-3 stretch. Although the season came to an end after being swept by North Dakota in the playoffs, the Mavericks made some positive strides toward the future.
Joel Hanson, a senior forward from Elk River, Minnesota, will be the captain for the Mavericks this upcoming season.
"He has gotten better and better every year," said Jutting. "He is experienced with three years in the WCHA and three years in the USHL. I think it will work out well."
Hanson is one of three seniors for the Mavericks.
MSU has a large recruiting class.
"I like this class. They will play further in their careers," Jutting said.
"I am very excited about this team," said Jutting about the upcoming season. "Jon Kalinski showed great improvement from last year going from four goals the year before to 17, he showed great improvement. Zach Harrison and Jerad Stewart should see their game elevate this season. I think this team will be competitive with more experience.
"The league will be very competitive. It is very difficult and if you don't bring your A game you're going to get beat."
This season, expect the goals to go up for the Mavericks as well as improvements from the defense. Home-ice might not be expected, but it's not crazy. This team is sneaky and can come from nowhere, like it did in 2002-03 when it made the NCAAs.