Friday, February 17, 2012

Bulldogs 4, Mavericks 2

Pat Christman/The Free Press
Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Late goal is a killer: The key goal of the game was Travis Oleksuk's goal with eight-tenths of a second showing on the clock at the end of the second period. That gave Duluth a 2-1 lead going into the third period and simply sucked the life out of the Mavericks the rest of the way. The Bulldogs won a defensive-zone faceoff with about 10 seconds left and rushed up the ice 2-on-2. Oleksuk, who also had UMD's first goal, fired from high in the left circle, and his shot deflected off Zach Palmquist's stick and past goalie Phil Cook (24 saves).

2. More shots needed: MSU swept Alaska Anchorage a week ago despite having their season low in shots on goal in consecutive nights — 17 on Friday and 16 on Saturday. The Mavericks had just 18 against backup goalie Aaron Crandall (Kenny Reiter was out with an illness), including just four over the first 18 1/2 minutes of the third period when they needed them most. Duluth clamped down defensively after Oleksuk's goal, and David Grun gave the Bulldogs a 3-1 cushion with 9:09 to go. Jean-Paul LaFontaine did make it 3-2 with 30 seconds left, but Brady Lamb scored a length-of-the ice, bank-shot empty-net goal to seal UMD's win after that.

3. McInnis playing well: The Mavericks led 1-0 on Johnny McInnis' goal at 8:11 of the first period. The sophomore forward now has eight goals and six assists for 14 points. Six of those points have come in the last seven games. He had just four points as a freshman. Speaking of playing well, LaFontaine had the late goal but made several nifty plays, especially in the first period. He's been lot of fun to watch in his first college season.

Deep thought: Saturday night's game will be the final MSU hockey game of the season at the Verizon Wireless Center.

Quote of the night: "You never want to let a team score a goal in the last minute of any period. That took a little wind out of our sails. But as a team, you have to respond to that." — MSU defenseman Tyler Elbrecht on Travis Oleksuk's goal with 0.8 to go in the second period.

Around the WCHA: Minnesota 3, Bemidji State 0 ... Denver 3, Wisconsin 0 ... Alaska Anchorage 3, St. Cloud State 2 (OT) ... North Dakota 4, Michigan Tech 2 ... Nebraska Omaha at Colorado College (late)

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