M Hockey: NMU, Mankato face off in Mason Cup Finals


Molly Birch/NW

SHUTOUT – NMU won the second round of the Mason Cup over the Huskies 4-0. Beni Halasz posted 44 saves in the win.

Chris Anderson

After a two-game sweep of the Bemidji State Beavers in the first round of the Mason Cup playoffs, freshman goalie Beni Halasz posted a 44 save shutout in the semi-final round against rival Michigan Tech.

“What I think what [Halasz] has done very well is, he’s not giving up a lot of rebounds right now, so there’s very few second chance opportunities and he gives the guys confidence,” Head Coach Grant Potulny said.

Halasz was named to the CCHA All-Rookie team alongside teammates Joey Larson and Josh Zinger who have helped the team come together at just the right time. The ‘Cats were able to post a 4-0 shutout against the tenth-ranked Huskies to advance to the Mason Cup final against Minnesota State-Mankato.

Coming down the stretch of the season, NMU has gone 9-1 in their past 10 games after struggling to find a rhythm early on, mostly posting a .500 record. Potulny and the team have been trying to change the pace of the season and this 10-game stretch has shown what the Wildcat team can really do on the ice.

“We’re going to continue our process and be focused on our process,” Potulny said. “The game is another opportunity for us and the playoffs, when they started for us, have been the same every weekend. It’s an opportunity for us to stay together longer.”

NMU will travel to Mankato this Saturday to face off against the Mavericks at 7:07 p.m. for a chance to take home the Mason Cup. The ‘Cats are 1-3 against Mankato this year, with the lone win at Mankato, snapping the Mavericks home win streak of over 20 games, 3-2 in overtime.

Potulny and the team have been through many ups and downs this season, but they all understood they were always close to putting a string of wins together that were needed to put themselves in a place to compete for a chance at the Mason Cup.

“This is kind of the team I hoped we’d have,” Potulny said. “We’re … coming together at the right time.”