Saturday, March 16, 2013

MSU 4, UNO 3 (OT)

Pat Christman/The Free Press
Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. If it's Mankato, it must be overtime: Friday's game was the fifth overtime playoff game in a row in Mankato. You have to go back to 2008 for the last three (against Minnesota) and 2003 (against Wisconsin) for the one before that, but that's a group of games that includes three double-overtime games. Friday against Omaha was just one OT, as Chase Grant ended it at the 7:04 mark, coming in as the late guy in a 3-on-2 rush. Jean-Paul LaFontaine finished off a spectacular night (1 goal, 2 assists) with the patient set-up pass for Grant, who had been without a goal since Jan. 4 when he scored in overtime to beat Providence.

2. It's just one win: Minnesota State needs just one win to get to St. Paul and the WCHA Final Five for the first time since 2003. Since then, MSU has won the Friday night playoff series opener five times (including this year), but dropped the next two games four times — at UMD (2004), at North Dakota (2006), home against Minnesota (2008) and at St. Cloud State (2010). In each of those games, the Mavericks won the first game in overtime. The seniors on this year's team were freshmen on that '10 team. Can they get over that hump?

3. Finishing strong: The Mavericks got off to a slow start, and mucked and grinded their way past a tough Omaha team that disrupted their attack all night. MSU scored a pair of power play goals to take a 2-1 lead but UNO had a 3-2 lead going into the third. But that's where Minnesota State has been so good all season, and it was a pair of freshmen, Bryce Gervais (game-tying goal midway through the period) and Stephon Williams (32 saves), who got the team to the extra period.

Deep thought: What happened to the crowd? I know it was spring break for the students, but 2,855? Come on, Mankato people! Aren't these the kinds of games you've been yearning for, no matter who the opponent is? Just an alarming number considering it was MSU's first playoff game at home in five years. Maybe Saturday will be better.

And another thing: MSU moved up to 7th in the Pairwise Rankings Saturday night.

Read The Free Press game story here.

Around the WCHA: All the home teams won to take 1-0 series leads. Wisconsin 3, Minnesota Duluth 1 ... Minnesota 2, Bemidji State 1 (OT) ... North Dakota 5, Michigan Tech 3 ... St. Cloud State 6, Alaska Anchorage 1 ... Denver 5, Colorado College 3.


MavFan said...

It seemed like more than 2800 fans last night. I'm not sure about that figure. It would say it looked more like 3400 fans.

crossjcek said...

2800 is a sad number. I am afraid of next years regular season numbers. We should build an on campus rink for 3500 since we can't create atmosphere at the vwc without MN or UND in town.


Compared to previous seasons, this group seems to have a very special TEAM attitude and will get where they want to go with or without Kato fans once they get to the cities next week.

Then they will have true hockey fans supporting them.

Yes winning brings the fans, yet true fans are there no matter what. Until Kato can build the "true fan" base, these numbers will stay about the same. Hopefully this TEAM and coach Hastings can be the "engine" to get the FAN Train rolling for years to come.

I'm calling in sick next weekend - GO MAVS!!!

Sam said...

I was very disappointed with the attendance too. I know the D2 basketball tourney is in town, but MSU wasn't even playing Friday night. It's been 5 years since MSU hosted a home playoff series, and yet the fan support was lackluster as usual. I remember the glory days when I was a student (2004-2008) when it seemed like the arena was full almost every night. 2004 was a bit weak, but beyond that there were always good crowds.

It certainly doesn't help that the students are on spring break, and it was also surprising that there weren't more UNO fans in attendance. Omaha isn't really THAT far away.

Hopefully there's a better turnout tonight. This team deserves it.

MSU Grad 97 said...

My guess is that they only counted the paid ones last night. I know us season ticket holders got in for free, in a way, as the tickets are in the back in the book after paying for the regular season. Plus, wasn't the first 250 or so students given a free ticket? It looked like similar announced crowds of 3,500. That is still pretty low, but there is NO WAY that was under 3,000 last night. It must be a playoff thing from the NCAA as the playoff football games were much more than announced as well. They had a bunch of students get in for free at times, too.

crossjcek said...

Shane, do you know about how the playoff attendance is counted and if it is different from regular season. I thought there were more than 2800 in the building as well. I hope people turn out tonight and send this team to St Paul on a very loud note!

MavFan said...

Although the Mavs (& the atmosphere) started a little flat, I thought all of it gained momentum as the game progressed. Considering the students were on break, I think it had a good feel. Regarding attendance, consider this: to sell out Mariucci Arena, they need about 10,000 people from a metro area of over 3 million people. The Mankato metro area is 94,000. So, to get even 3500 fans to a game takes a considerably higher percentage of our local population. Fellow fans: next time you discuss attendance with anyone, don't rant about low attendance. Instead, tell them why you go & encourage them to come to a game & enjoy the live action. Positivity can be just as contagious as negativity, & this way you're doing something to make a good atmosphere a great one. Go Mavs!

MSU Grad 97 said...

Maybe MSU can start a new marketing campaign - Much like Tom Sterns, Mankato, you're missing a great hockey game! Come to the VWC tonight as the Purple Mavs take on the Red Mavs and the Men in Stripes! I just want Sterns, Thul, and Bradshaw to know the rules and call a good game for once in Mankato - is that too much to ask?

Dave said...

MavFan...where do you live because the Mankato/North Mankato area I live in only has a population of 50,000. Lets not fool ourselves about the attendance, if the Mavs were hosting the Whioux or the Gophers it would be sold out. I think a combination of both the students being on break and the fact UNO has no fan base to travel speaks to why the attendance was low. The people who really care about this hockey team were there to cheer them on. It's too bad that even the fair weather fans didn't go to see a very good Mav team play in the conference playoffs. This is only my view and I am a Gopher fan to boot. It sounded like attendance was down at all of the games last night in the WCHA. I guess timing is everything.

MavFan said...

Dave, the Mankato area standard metropolitan statistical area is about 96,000. It includes all of Blue Earth & Nicollett counties. I used this because I'm sure the Mavs draw from this area. Likewise, the figure I quoted for MPLS/St. Paul is for the multi-county metro area. Follow this link:–_North_Mankato_metropolitan_area#section_1