UPDATE: Read The Free Press' game story here and the Omaha World-Herald story here.
Freddy's 3 thoughts of the game ...
1. Welcome to the WCHA: Minnesota State didn't give Nebraska-Omaha or its fans much of a taste of WCHA hockey on Friday. The game was the first WCHA game at the Qwest Center since Omaha joined he league, and the eighth-ranked home team cruised. The red Mavs, who are 3-0-0 in their new league, are now 19-3-2 at their home rink under coach Dean Blais after the milestone victory. MSU was credited with 27 shots on goal but just didn't seem to test goalie John Faulkner a heck of a lot. The visitors were 0 for 7 on the power play, averaging just one shot on goal per chance. "It felt like UNO wanted it more than we did tonight," MSU coach Troy Jutting said. You can see the box score here.
2. Interesting move: MSU goalie Phil Cook was yanked after two periods and Austin Lee played the third period. It seemed like a move designed to spark a much-needed fire under the rest of the team, but Jutting said Cook gave up a "horrible" rebound on UNO's third goal and would have pulled more players from the game if he could have. Kurt Davis, who was minus-2 for the game was beaten badly to the loose puck, which was sitting around the crease practically begging to be scored. "Everybody has to do their part," the coach said. The goal was indeed a backbreaker, coming with 69 seconds remaining in the second period. Cook finished with 18 saves on 21 shots, and Lee stopped 9 of 11 shots with the goals coming 29 seconds apart. Both goals came on the power play, with the first being a 5x3 (corrected). I'll be curious not only to see who starts in goal on Saturday but if any other changes are made to the lineup. Freshmen John McInnis and Danny Heath are the others on the trip.
3. Emptying the notebook: A few things of interest that didn't get in the game story: MSU forward Eriah Hayes was elbowed by Pasko Skarica early in the game at center ice. The shot appeared to be at Hayes' head (is elbowing ever called otherwise?) and Hayes missed the rest of the first period before returning. Skarica received a 2-minute minor for the hit. (Comment: Considering the events of last weekend at North Dakota, I'm surprised it wasn't a major.). ... Mavs defensean Tyler Elbrecht did something to rile up the fans. After a skirmish around the MSU net in the third period and some jawing with UNO players on a later faceoff, Elbrecht was booed by the crowd of 7,232 every time he touched the puck the rest of the game. ... Word around Omaha is that the Spirit of the Maverick, the traveling trophy between the two teams, is still on the line. In order to get it back, though, MSU must win Saturday's game by at least five goals.