Friday, December 14, 2012

MSU 6, UNO 3

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Keep on rolling: Minnesota State got down by a goal less than a minute in on the road and got into some penalty trouble early, but, to quote junior forward Johnny McInnis after the game: "Nothing rattles us." McInnis scored two goals and assisted on another, Teddy Blueger had three assists and MSU won its seventh game in a row in impressive fashion against a very good and highly skilled Omaha team. With the way the game started, it seemed like it might have been a bump in the road for the visiting team, but that was not the case. Can the purple Mavs make it eight in a row to close the first half of the season on Saturday night?

2. Special team: The 43 seconds of 5x3 penalty kill time early on settled down MSU. Their kill was good all night, allowing one goal on six tries. Stephon Williams (25 saves) came up huge at times, and Bryce Gervais' short-handed breakaway goal less than two minutes into the third period was all the cushion Minnesota State needed. They also had a big kill with about 7 minutes left in the third period when UNO coach Dean Blais pulled his goalie for a 6-on-4 attack. Minnesota State also scored a pair of power play goals, one from McInnis, on a nice feed out of the corner from Chase Grant and one by Jean-Paul LaFontaine on a similar pass from Matt Leitner.

3. Hey, rookie! This is the time of year when coaches love to say their freshmen aren't freshmen anymore. Well, MSU's first-year players came up huge. Blueger with three assists. Gervais with the shorty. Dylan Margonari with a goal. Jon Jutzi with his first career goal (with 2 minutes left, sealing the win by finishing off a 2-on-1 on a beautiful little backhanded pass from Blueger). "I think we're just trying to do the same things that have made us successful before," Blueger said. "We just try to outwork the other team and play to our system."

Deep thought: One thing I love about covering sports is seeing things I've never seen before. Tonight? How about a goalie interference penalty at one end of the rink (Eriah Hayes) and a second one called at the other end seconds later during the delay (Brock Montpetit) for matching minors? MSU dodged a bullet there and even scored a goal to go up 2-1 while those two were in the box.

Read The Free Press game story here.

Around the WCHA: North Dakota 6, Michigan Tech 1 ... Wisconsin 4, Alabama Huntsville 1 ... St. Cloud State 5, Colorado College 3 ... Denver 1, Bemidji State 1 (OT) ... Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (late)

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