|Pat Christman/The Free Press|
1. Doing the splits: A split against the No. 1 team in the country isn't a bad thing. It's just that teams get a little greedy after winning the series opener, which the Mavericks did on Friday. Coming home Saturday and playing before the fifth-largest hockey crowd (5,134) in Verizon Wireless Center history and touching the 5,000-fan mark for the first time in four years, there had to be some disappointment in not getting a better start and getting the building involved. The Mavericks weren't bad, but the Gophers were better. They took advantage of a few mistakes and clamped down on defense on the way to a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the third period.
2. Video killed the hockey star: Referees went to video replay three times on Saturday. One review overturned no-goal call on the ice. One confirmed a goal. And one disallowed a goal. All three calls went Minnesota's way. The third one was the killer for MSU, though, as a potential Johnny McInnis score from Matt Leitner was waved off. That would have made it a 3-2 lead with 6:34 to play, and coming just 25 seconds after Zach Lehrke's goal, it got the crowd really into the game for the first time. The puck appeared to go in off the shaft of McInnis' stick, and the thought was that referees Brad Shepherd and C.J. Beaurline were checking for a high-stick. However, they ruled that the puck went in off McInnis' hand. Odd play, and certainly a momentum killer.
3. Power trip: Minnesota scored two power-play goals, which ended up being the difference in the game (the Gophers' last goal was an empty-netter). The Mavericks hadn't given up two power-play goals in a game since Nov. 2 when they gave up three in a 3-2 loss at Minnesota. So that's five man-advantage goals in two losses to the Gophers. In the 20 games in between, Minnesota State allowed just five power-play goals in all. The Mavericks, meanwhile, went 0 for 2 on the power play. They had one on Friday's 2-1 victory at Mariucci. Arena.
Deep thought: Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said next weekend's bye week is coming at a good time. The Mavericks have played every weekend since Christmas, going on trips to Connecticut and Alaska, playing a physical series with Wisconsin and then this weekend's grind against the Gophers. Minnesota State went 6-3-1 in that stretch.
Read The Free Press game story here.
Around the WCHA: St. Cloud State 2, North Dakota 2 (OT) ... Wisconsin 2, Alaska Anchorage 1 ... Nebraska Omaha 2, Bemidji State 1
1. St. Cloud State (25 points)
2. Minnesota (24)
2. Nebraska Omaha (24)
4. Minnesota State (21)*
4. North Dakota (21)
4. Wisconsin (21)
7. Denver (20)
8. Minnesota Duluth (19)
9. Colorado College (15)
10. Bemidji State (12)
10. Michigan Tech (12)
12. Alaska Anchorage (6)*
* = Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage each have played 20 league games; the rest of the teams have played 18.
P.S. Apologies for the poor live blog and few Twitter updates tonight. The Verizon Wireless Center had myriad wireless problems (ironic, no?) that hampered not only my work by that of several other media members and other press box workers on Saturday night. Hopefully, that gets corrected in time for MSU's future home series.