|Pat Christman/The Free Press|
1. First responders: For the first time in their winning streak — now at five games — the Mavericks' opponent scored the first goal of the game. Anchorage's Matt Bailey scored on somewhat of an excuse-me shot between goalie Stephon Williams' shoulder and the right post just 1:49 into the game. Was this the start of the wheels coming off? Nope. Minnesota State tied the game on the power play just 70 seconds later (an Eriah Hayes redirect ... changed after the game, it was announced as a Zach Palmquist goal) and ground out the win from there.
2. Nice to Knowles: Freshman forward Brett Knowles scored his first college goal, putting MSU up 3-1 at 4:42 of the second period. While it seems like the Vanderhoof, B.C., native has had a quiet start, he's done many good things. Going into the game, he had five assists, led the Mavericks in plus-minus and has proven to be quite the backchecker and penalty killer. "They've given me the opportunity to kill penalties, and I enjoy it," he said. "It's a big part of the game. I try to take pride in killing penalties." But it had to be nice to score the goal, too. He had chances before that, including earlier Friday when he had a partial breakaway stymied when a defender lifted his stick off the puck at the last second.
3. Goalie stories: The Mavericks outshot the Seawolves 40-21 and had no easy time getting the puck past Anchorage's Chris Kamal, who made a couple of highlight saves (two on Dylan Margonari). Hayes had a deflection and Knowles scored on a rebound, as did Johnny McInnis (pictured), whose score with 4:36 left in the first period ended up as the game-winning goal. But it was Williams, once again, who came out with the win. The MSU rookie stopped 20 shots, including a couple of timely ones among his nine saves in the third period. Williams has allowed just six goals in the last five games.
Deep thought: Not quite at the halfway point of the WCHA season and the Mavericks are in a tie for fourth place, just one out of third, yet just 3,041 attended Friday's game. Hey, the Verizon Wireless Center might just be the place to warm up after the big MSU football game on Saturday.
Read my Free Press game story here.
Around the WCHA: Minnesota Duluth 4, Bemidji State 2 ... Michigan Tech 1, Wisconsin 1 (OT) ... Denver 2, North Dakota 2 (OT) ... Nebraska Omaha 6, St. Cloud State 5 ... Minnesota 4, Colorado College 2