Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...
1. Big hole: Blame a lax start, the goaltending or the penalties. Either way, the Mavericks put themselves into too big of a deficit — 3-0 — early against the third-ranked Pioneers before finally waking up and doing something about it. First the penalties ... Three penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game got MSU out of its rhythm, even as it killed them all off (Denver was 0 for 6 on the power play). "I think we've gotten better at killing penalties," coach Mike Hastings said. "But I'm OK if we don't keep practicing it on Fridays and Saturdays." The Mavericks were called for 12 penalties totaling 35 minutes. With just under two minutes left in the game, Jean-Paul LaFontaine's major for checking from behind, all but quelled MSU's comeback attempt.
2. Goaltending issues: On to the goaltending ... Denver's Sam Brittain stopped 33 of 36 shots, and coach George Gwozdecky called him his team's best player. Still, Juho Olkinuora is slated to start Saturday's game, while back in Colorado, Adam Murray is nursing an injury. Three top-flight goaltenders. Not a bad problem for Gwozdecky. As for the Mavericks, they're looking for one. Starter Phil Cook allowed three goals on 12 shots before being lifted for freshman Stephon Williams at 3:28 of the second period. Williams stopped seven shots in the second and saw only one in the third, which Daniel Doremus ripped over his shoulder from the high slot and ended up as the game-winning goal. Combined, Cook and Williams have a .884 save percentage and a 3.16 goals-against average this season.
3. LaFontaine heats up: Prior to the bad penalty at the end of the game, Jean-Paul LaFontaine showed the spark he had most of last season. Perhaps the empty-net goal against the Gophers a week ago got him going. The sophomore finished Friday's game with two goals and an assist, which moved him up to second place on the Mavericks' scoring list behind Matt Leitner, who had a picture-perfect assist on LaFontaine's second goal, which came with an extra attacker on the ice and made it 4-3 with just under two minutes to play. LaFontaine has three goals and four assists so far and continues to lead the team in shots on goal.
Deep thought: Friday's attendance at The Cell was 3,184, nearly 1,700 fewer than the number who came for last Saturday's game against Minnesota. That's disappointing and puzzling, considering the buzz created by that win over the Gophers and the fact that another top team and national power, No. 3 Denver, was coming in.
Around the WCHA: North Dakota 3, St. Cloud State 0 ... Colorado College 3, Bemidji State 2 ... Minnesota at Alaska Anchorage (late)