By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mississippi State’s ice hockey team returns to its home ice for a pair of games against Auburn, tonight and Saturday at BancorpSouth Arena.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight, with a 7:30 p.m. start on Saturday. Admission at the door is $6.
MSU played four games on home ice last season, and it was a hit with fans, with crowds in excess of 2,000 for two-game sets against Ole Miss and LSU.
“For us, it’s absolutely amazing to play on home ice,” said Dawg Ice Hockey head coach Mike Mayhew, noting that the team’s budget is mainly derived from its home gate receipts. “The support from local fans has been great.”
His MSU team brings a 1-3 record into tonight’s match, including a split at Tulane and losses at Decatur, Ga., against Georgia and Emory.
“Our record doesn’t reflect it yet, but we think we have a stronger team this season,” Mayhew said. “We expect our roster to be at full strength this weekend.”
State took a pair of games from Ole Miss, 10-0 and 6-2, here last season, then split a pair of games with LSU.
The Dawgs will take the ice on Dec. 3-4 against Louisiana-Lafayette and have scheduled home matches against LSU for Jan. 7-8. “The first year, we played two games in Tupelo, then four games last season and six this time,” Mayhew said. “We’ve been working hard to get ready for this.”
MSU and Ole Miss will face off Nov. 19-20 on neutral ice in Decatur, Ala. The season runs through late February.
Fans who came out last season will recognize about half the MSU roster, including forwards Chris Moore and R.C. Martin. “We’re looking for both of them to step up and provide leadership this season,” Mayhew said. “Even fans who don;’t know much about hockey will notice R.C. when he’s out there.”
With the ice sheet in place at BCA Arena, where will be public skating after tonight’s game, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and two two-hour sessions on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Contact John L. Pitts at 678-1522 or email@example.com