Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mavericks 7, Pronghorns 1 (exhibition)

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. 1A and 1B: The No. 1 line on the Mavericks' chart included center Matt Leitner with wings Zach Stepan and Bryce Gervais. Hard to argue with that. The No. 2 line was center Teddy Blueger with wings Dylan Margonari and Johnny McInnis. Talk about a one-two combination. The Blueger line was dazzling on Sunday, with Blueger getting four points (1G, 3A), McInnis getting three (1G, 2A) and Margonari scoring a beautiful breakaway goal, showing off some blazing speed after catching Blueger's perfect pass. "I feel like, with Margs and Johnny, I know where we're going to be and where we expect to be in certain situations," Blueger said.

2. First day on the job: The freshmen "weren't shy," making an immediate impact, coach Mike Hastings said. Stepan had a goal and an assist. Michael Huntebrinker also had a goal, and Jordan Nelson had an assist. Huntebrinker and Nelson, playing on what was a rock-solid fourth line with sophomore Taylor Herndon, showed off some physical play, too. "They don't mind playing in traffic," Hastings said. On defense, Carter Foguth, Casey Nelson and Sean Flanagan all got a shot, and it will be interesting to see which six defensemen get to play at Providence. Rookie goalie Cole Huggins played the third period and stopped all four shots he saw.

3. Welcome back: Remember Mat Knoll? He was the Mavericks' most improved player in 2011-12 as a freshman. But last year he had to miss the season -- he didn't even get practice -- after undergoing eye surgery. The defenseman is back this year, however, and looked poised, especially on the power play early on. He assisted on Blueger's power-play goal that made it 3-1 late in the first period. Throw his name in the mix of defensemen, too. Competition will make that group better, that's for sure.

Deep thought: There a couple of quotes in my game story, but the Mavericks are raving about the new-look Verizon Wireless Center. The purple seats make it look like home, and, according to McInnis, the ice is fantastic compared to years past.

Around the WCHA: Colgate 1, Ferris State 0 ... Northern Michigan 3, Laurentian 2 (ex.) ... USA U18 Team 3, Lake Superior State 2 (ex.)

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