|Pat Christman/The Free Press|
1. Huge win: Not only was the first WCHA victory of the season for the Mavericks, snapping a three-game losing streak, but it was important because of the atmosphere in the Verizon Wireless Center. The crowd of 4,854 the first sellout and largest crowd for hockey since Feb. 28, 2009 when MSU drew 5,013 for a game against Wisconsin. The pep band was back for the first time in years, and a new lounge-like area called the Big Bobber Ice House was unveiled in the dead area of the horseshoe on the west end of the rink. When Jean-Paul LaFontaine scored an empty-net goal, flipping a backhander from the boards about 150 feet away, the arena made a sound not heard in a long, long time.
2. Play of the game? Which is it? Dylan Margonari's game-winner with 3:41 to play or Phil Cook's sprawling save to stop a Grade A 3-on-1 opportunity with 15 seconds left in the second period. Coach Mike Hastings called Cook's save the game's turning point, and a goal there would have put the Gophers up 4-3 going into the third despite getting outshot 27-17 at that point. Cook said he was disappointed in the first couple of Minnesota goals and "owed it to my teammates to make a big save." Margonari's goal came just after the Mavericks killed a penalty (remember the kill problems on Friday?), and was a huge play in what had been a scoreless period up to that point. Max Gaede won a battle for the puck along the boards and threw the puck out to Margonari, who had fresh legs coming off the bench.
3. Forwards march: Junior defenseman Josh Nelson scored the Mavericks' first goal of the game, and at the time, three of the team's last four goals had come from blueliners. After that though, forwards Zach Lehrke, Johnny McInnis, Margonari and LaFontaine scored. In St. Cloud, Hastings said his forwards have too much talent to be shut out. They sure came to life on Saturday. McInnis' goal was his fourth of the year, and Margonari's was his second. But Lehrke and LaFontaine each got his much-needed first of the season. LaFontaine ended up with two-point game.
Read The Free Press' game story here.
Up next: The Mavericks will host Denver on Friday and Saturday.
Around the WCHA: Nebraska Omaha 5, Michigan Tech 3 ... Boston University 4, North Dakota 2 ... Colorado College 3, Wisconsin 0 ... Denver 6, St. Cloud State 1