The next time Brannon McManus scores a goal or picks up an assist, the fifth-year forward will have another puck to add to his collection: the puck from his 100th career point.
“I guess it just means I’ve played at this level for a while,” McManus said with a laugh. “I’ve played with a lot of great players over my college career though between my time at Minnesota and here. Fortunately, our power play is clicking right now too, so it’s helping me a lot (points-wise) too. It’s just a testament to the guys I’ve played with more than anything.”
As McManus joked himself, the California native has been no stranger to the college game. He debuted with Minnesota back on Oct. 6, 2017, and has skated in 148 more games since. He also hasn’t been a stranger on the scoresheet, as McManus has put up 99 points in 149 career games. He potted a career-high 14 goals as a sophomore and had 26, 27 and 25 points respectively over his final three years with the Gophers.
Through 13 games this season, McManus has found the back of the net three times and added nine assists. However, the Minnesota transfer hasn’t lit the lamp since Oct. 29 and is currently in a seven-game goal drought.
McManus admits he’d hoped for a little bit more goal scoring early on, but he’s also been focusing on other areas of his overall game, which he feels is improving.
“I’m on the right track and I’ve just been doing my part to help the team win,” McManus said. “My biggest thing individually is just to keep growing and working on my own game and I think the rest will follow. It’s a long season.”
At the same time, the bigger focus, and one of the main reasons McManus chose to finish his collegiate career in Omaha, is the team he now finds himself on. The Mavericks are off to one of the best starts in program history at 11-3-0 and have been ranked inside the top 10 for most of the season.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start, so it’s been exciting,” McManus said. “It’s not surprising though. It’s just a testament of who we are as a team and the sky’s the limit with our group.”
One of the biggest positives this season has been the Mavericks’ success on the power play, which has converted on 22 of their 75 chances (29.3 percent). A right-shot winger, McManus has filled a void and added another threat to the Mavericks’ top unit. McManus’ power play potentially was initially one of the most intriguing parts of his addition to the Omaha roster.
“Our power play has been unreal and it’s definitely one of the better units I’ve ever been on,” he said. “I just kind of felt the chemistry right away and I knew that was somewhere I could help this team. Wardo (Taylor Ward) has unbelievable talent and if you’re able to find him, you find him, and you know he’s able to put it in.
“It’s a five-man unit though. (Brandon) Scanlin up top, (Kevin) Conley has a big shot, (Chayse) Primeau in the middle — we just work so well together and it clicks.”
With Primeau back from an injury, that unit should be back together this weekend against Colorado College. Whether it comes on the power play or not, McManus could hit the century mark this weekend with one point. However, his main focus is on the points that count in the NCHC standings.
“CC can’t be taken lightly,” McManus said. “They hung with Duluth and have had some really good games this year, so we know they’re going to come out hard. Every game matters and anyone can beat anyone in college hockey too, so every game has a purpose and you have to play with one. This weekend is no different.”
Game one between Omaha and Colorado College will get underway at 7:07 p.m. on Friday. Game two will follow at the same time on Saturday.