Wade Regier wasn't taking any chances when one of his top defensemen took an ugly hit this weekend.
The Minot State University club hockey coach erred on the safe side and shelved Brad Olynyk, who was attended to for a possible concussion during the second game of two against Briercrest College in Saskatchewan.
The Beavers replaced Olynyk with sophomore Mitch Peeke to play a vital role with the power-play unit.
Minot State University sophomore defenseman Mitch Peeke practices Monday at Maysa Arena. Peeke recorded four points through two games last weekend.
Peeke, less than six months removed from knee surgery, responded with a dominant performance. The Siemens, Saskatchewan, native had three assists and a goal on a one-timer.
"He's a pretty good playmaker and has some offensive skill, but we didn't anticipate him to be 100 percent when we got here," Regier said.
The surgery repaired an ACL and the recovery appears to be on schedule if not ahead based Peeke's early impact for the No. 7 Beavers.
"At the start of the year, (coaches) weren't sure if I was gonna be able to handle it because I had knee surgery in March," Peeke said. "So, we weren't sure exactly what they we're gonna do with defense. (Olynyk) didn't play the end of the game there and they kind of just threw me out there and I guess it worked out."
Sophomore forward Logan Herauf didn't mind the increased ice time with Peeke. Herauf also finished the weekend series with four points, three coming on scoring plays shared with Peeke. Both picked up assists on two Dan Lamb goals and Herauf had the second assist on Peeke's goal.
"He's really a solid offensive d-man," Herauf said of Peeke. "He's almost like an extra forward out there. You get him the puck and he can make things happen just like any skilled forward."
The Beavers (1-0 ACHA) aren't looking too far into the wins over Briercrest, a team Peeke described as probably an average of five years younger.
MSU opened the season with a 4-1 win over No. 10 Iowa State. Three truer tests may determine if the Beavers are a legitimate national championship contender.
The team travels to Springfield, Ill., this week for the ACHA Showcase. Friday's game is against defending national champion Delaware, who started the season ranked No. 1 before losing to Navy. The Blue Hens (0-1) dropped to No. 5 and had the weekend off.
"We're certainly going to have to play our best," Regier said. "It's exciting for our boys. It will be interesting to see what type of team Delaware is."
It will be the first meeting between the two schools, as will MSU's game Saturday against No. 8 Liberty (Va.). The Flames are 4-0. The showcase ends Sunday for the Beavers against No. 17 Stony Brook (N.Y.).
Olynyk is expected to play.