|Pat Christman/The Free Press|
1. Johnny be good: Last Friday at Minnesota Duluth a soft play that led to an eventual goal got Johnny McInnis benched for a good portion of the game. He played the next night, but he got his mojo back on Friday against Michigan Tech. McInnis had a goal and an assist in the win, and his goal was his fifth game-winner of the season. The goal came exactly three minutes after the Huskies tied the game 2-2 on a power-play shot that handcuffed Stephon Williams. I'm sure he'd like to have that one back. "We controlled the momentum," McInnis said. "I think we do a good job of that."
2. How about Hayes? Running out of things to say about Eriah Hayes on the blog, but he was brilliant again on Friday. His goal that gave the Mavericks a 2-1 lead just 67 seconds into the second period was a thing of beauty. After getting stuffed on a pretty good wrap-around try at the left post, Hayes chased down his own rebound, skated to the high slot and fired a low, hard, laser through traffic for his 17th goal of the season. He appeared to get his 18th with 10 seconds left in the second but the officials immediately ruled that he deflected the puck with a high stick. It was close.
3. Finishing strong: Matt Leitner's goal early in the third period gave Minnesota State a two-goal cushion, and the Mavericks seemed to be able to play its game from there. "I'm glad you saw it that way," Hastings said with a laugh when asked about it afterward. Maybe it was a little more contentious for the coach. But they're a very good third-period team. They outshot Tech 16-7 in the final frame, killing off one early penalty in the process.
Deep thought: Where was everybody? Tonight's crowd was announced as a modest 3,591. Surprising considering the big late-season crowds MSU has gotten in the past when it's been in contention — no matter who the opponent was. To the no-shows and the stay-at-homes: This is the team you've wanted to see. New coach. Winning games. Stud players. Positioned for home ice and the NCAAs (now eighth in the Pairwise) with now five games left in the regular season. What's the problem?
Read The Free Press game story here.
Around the WCHA: Minnesota 3, Wisconsin 2 ... Bemidji State 4, Minnesota Duluth 2 ... Nebraska Omaha 3, Alaska Anchorage 0
1. St. Cloud State (31 points)
2. Minnesota (28)
North Dakota (28)
Nebraska Omaha (28)
5. Minnesota State (27)
6. Denver (25)
8. Colorado College (20)
9. Minnesota Duluth (19)
10. Michigan Tech (16)
11. Bemidji State (15)
12. Alaska Anchorage (10)