|John Cross/The Free Press|
1. Cooking up a win: Phil Cook (pictured) is back. The junior goaltender stopped 32 shots to shut out Wisconsin and help the Mavericks break a 10-game WCHA winless streak that dated back to Nov. 11. Cook struggled mightily in his last two league games, allowing nine goals on 11 shots over one two-game stretch. But he was brilliant on Saturday night, making a couple of unbelievable stops to help the MSU hold on to a 2-0 first-period lead. Coach Troy Jutting said the plan was to start Cook all along, however, Friday's starter, Austin Lee was injured in Saturday's pregame skate, taking a hard shot off his facemask from Eriah Hayes. The shot broke Lee's mask. Lee did not dress for the game.
(Read much more about Cook in the Freep game story.)
2. No ordinary Joe: Senior forward Joe Schiller finished Saturday's game with two assists and an empty-net goal with 30 second remaining to seal the win. Schiller also was responsible for hanging out in the back pocket of Mark Zengerle, the Badgers' best forward. Schiller shut down Zengerle on Saturday and held him to just one even-strength point for the weekend (Zengerle scored an even-strength goal and had a power-play assist on Friday). Said Zengerle: "That No. 26 guy followed me around no matter where I went the entire two games." Zenglere's 20-game point streak ended Saturday, leaving him one game shy of the team record set by Mike Eaves, who is now Wisconsin's coach.
(I'll be writing more about Schiller for my Monday notebook/review.)
3. A win in need: The Mavericks are 4-4-0 in their last eight games, but getting the WCHA victory was important. "It was a huge win," Jutting said. "We had to have it." Said Schiller: "It's bigger for confidence. It's huge." Besides shutting down Zengerle, the Mavericks kept the nation's top-scoring defenseman, Justin Schultz, off the score sheet for the weekend. Schultz, who Jutting called the best player in college hockey has 32 points for the season.
Deep thought: Wisconsin still has never swept a series in Mankato. The Badgers will get one more chance next season before the WCHA breakup takes place. I have a hard time thinking we'll see Wisconsin back in the VWC after that.
Quote of the night: "We couldn't solve the riddle of the man between the pipes." — Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves
Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech 6, Alaska Anchorage 4 ... Minnesota 6, North Dakota 2 ... Nebraska Omaha 3, Minnesota Duluth 1 ... Denver 3, Bemidji State 2 ... St. Cloud State 5, Colorado College 4 (OT)