Freddy's three thoughts of the game (and MSU's first-ever series sweep in Madison) ...
1. Stars come out to sweep: The best players on the ice were Mavericks, and they were the Mavericks who have to be there for this team night in and night out. Eriah Hayes, the senior captain, scored a pair of power-play goals, including a huge goal to make it a two-goal game in the third period. He had three power-play goals in the series. Matt Leitner, who was lights out all weekend – or should it be Leits out? — had a goal and two assists for a five-point series. He now has 15 points in 12 games, which ranks seventh in the WCHA. Jean-Paul LaFontaine had a pair of assists. Coach Mike Hastings has — and should have — high expectations for those players every single night.
2. Enjoy the show: MSU freshman goalie Stephon Williams stopped 33 shots and made 65 saves for two wins on the weekend. He took some punishment from the Badgers, getting plowed into once by John Ramage (no penalty) in the first period and then enduring two more hits that did draw goalie interference calls in the third. Williams showed off his wacky side along the way, which didn't sit well with the Wisconsin fans. After making a how'd-he-do-that glove save on Derek Lee while sprawled out in the crease, Williams got up, skated off to the side and flung the puck down the rink. After getting taken out by Brendan Woods, he lay on the ice for a bit, perhaps milking the hit a bit. And in the final minute of the game, perhaps letting off some steam, he shoved Michael Mersch's head to the ice and was called for roughing. I'm not sure Hastings loved the act — "Let's just put it this way," the coach said, "he's young." — but it was entertaining.
3. So what? Wisconsin is hurting. One win in 10 games this season. Missing its best playmaker Mark Zengerle with an injury and missing a potential young superstar in Nic Kerdiles, whose NCAA suspension ended after this series. Add to that a Kohl Center that wasn't exactly Wisconsin-like with a Thanksgiving weekend skeleton crew of a student section and plenty of other empty seats. But, yeah, so what? The Mavericks had to take advantage of those circumstances, and they did. I'm not sure MSU teams from recent years would have done that. Minnesota State got the sweep, got the four points for the WCHA standings and are going back to Mankato for two weekends.
Read The Free Press game story here.
Around the WCHA: Notre Dame 5, North Dakota 2 ... Minnesota 3, Vermont 1 ... Bemidji State 5, Alaska Anchorage 4 ... Nebraska Omaha 8, Alabama Huntsville 0 ... St. Cloud State 5, Minnesota Duluth 1 ... New Hampshire 6, Denver 4 ... Yale 6, Colorado College 5 (OT)