|Pat Christman/The Free Press|
1. Top rookie? What about top goalie? Stephon Williams, who was amazing with 30 saves, including three in overtime, seems to be the favorite for the WCHA's rookie of the year. It appears he will win the WCHA's goaltending title with a 1.93 GAA in league play. Will he end up as a first-team All-WCHA goaltender? Ballots are due on Sunday, and, after his performance against North Dakota (Rocco Grimaldi doesn't want to see that glove hand anytime soon), he's got my vote. Williams finished the regular season overall with a 19-9-2 record, a 1.83 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
2. Freshman phenoms: The game seemed to belong to the rookies. Williams was good, but so was UND freshman goalie Zane Gothberg (35 saves, 72 in the series split). MSU winger Brett Knowles scored the game-winner in overtime and had an all-around fantastic game. Dylan Margonari scored the Mavericks' other goal. Meanwhile, Grimaldi was downright scary with eight shots on goal and several more attempts. Even MSU junior Zach Lehrke had to make a glove save on him in the third period.
3. Home sweet home: The win, played in front of a crowd of 5,088 (seventh-largest in program history) guaranteed Minnesota State home ice for next weekend's first round of the WCHA tournament. The Mavericks will host for the first time in five years and just the fourth time since joining the conference fulltime in 1999. Who they'll play remains to be seen, as they must await the result of Sunday's game between Denver and Anchorage. The Mavericks are tied for fourth place with Wisconsin. If Denver ties or loses, MSU wins the tiebreaker over the Badgers and will host Minnesota Duluth. If Denver wins, it moves into a tie with MSU and Wisco, and the Mavericks would drop to the sixth seed and host Nebraska Omaha.
Deep thought: The win broke a 10-game losing streak to North Dakota and came in the two teams' final meeting as WCHA foes (at least in the regular season). It also prevented UND from sharing the MacNaughton Cup with St. Cloud State and Minnesota. Also, the win gave the Mavericks a Division I-era record 22 for the year.
Read The Freep game story here.
WCHA standings (updated after Sunday's game)
1. St. Cloud State (37 points)
3. North Dakota (35)
4. Wisconsin (33)
Minnesota State (33)
7. Nebraska Omaha (30)
8. Colorado College (26)
9. Minnesota Duluth (25)
10. Michigan Tech (20)
11. Bemidji State (17)
12. Alaska Anchorage (10)