Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...
1. No moral victory: Clearly, Mike Hastings isn't interested in a lengthy rebuilding project here. And when his team outplayed No. 3 Denver for much of the weekend, only to get itself in early deficits each night (on Saturday it was 2-0) and get below-par goaltending on top of that, he shouldn't be. Denver will be flying back home on Sunday feeling like it stole two, maybe four points in Mankato. The difference in each game came down to the goalies. On Saturday, Juho Olkinuora (30 saves) outplayed Stephon Williams (20 saves, including a big one on Jarrod Mermis' breakaway early in the second period). "Their goalie made one more save than ours did — actually, more than one," Hastings said.
2. What went right: There were some good things that happened for the Mavericks, just not enough to put them in the "points for" category, Hastings said. They limited Denver to just 23 shots (43 for the weekend) and went 2 for 9 on the power play, getting goals from Eriah Hayes and Josh Nelson. They also took just two penalties and killed off both of the Pioneers' power plays. Jean-Paul LaFontaine assisted on Hayes' goal, giving him a four-point series
3. Freshman fun: A couple of highlights from Minnesota State's rookies on Saturday: Teddy Blueger assisted on Nelson's goal, giving him five points so far this season. ... Dylan Margonari also assisted on that goal and continued playing with the confidence of a veteran, it seemed. ... Brett Knowles and Jon Jutzi both had big hits in the third period when the game was still tied 2-2. Knowles was impressive on the penalty kill as well.
Deep thought 1: Saturday's announced crowd was 3,499, a big improvement from Friday's opener and definitely late-arriving, probably due to the unseasonably warm weather. The pep band makes a big difference to the atmosphere in the building, especially in what ended up being another close game.
Deep thought 2: Nice to see MSU honor the 11-0, NSIC-champion Maverick football team by bringing the entire squad out on the ice during the first intermission. Minnesota State closed out its regular season on Saturday with a 70-7 home win over Upper Iowa.
Read my Free Press game story here.
Around the WCHA: Nebraska Omaha 3, Minnesota Duluth 2 ... St. Cloud State 5, North Dakota 2 ... Colorado College 6, Bemidji State 3 ... Minnesota at Alaska Anchorage (late, Gophers won Friday's game 4-0)