Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...
1. Third time's a trend: "We started well on the road. I didn't like our second period." Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said that on Friday, but he said something similar after each of his team's games on opening weekend at Providence. Minnesota State came out flying on Friday, outshot the Bemidji State 14-4 in the first period, drew three penalties and had nothing to show for it. Beavers goalie Andrew Walsh was hot and the game was scoreless after 20 minutes. Midway through the second period, momentum changed, and the Beavers grabbed a quick 3-0 lead and were up 3-1 at the break.
2. Leit's out: No Matt Leitner on Friday, as he remained in Mankato with an apparent back issue. He's the Mavericks' leading scorer from last season, the WCHA preseason player of the year and one of nation's scariest power-play guys. The Mavericks definitely missed him, but it wasn't like they couldn't get anything going. They had seven shots on the power play in the first period and fanned on a couple of plays that looked to be sure goals. Said Hastings: "(Leitner's) a player. But it also means opportunities for some other people -- opportunities that have been asked for. We have to find a way to be better tomorrow."
3. Young fellas: The Mavericks' lone goal was scored by freshman Jordan Nelson, who again continues to impress with his play at both ends of the ice. His goal quelled Bemidji State's momentum a bit at the end of the second period (although a 5-minute major/game misconduct by sophomore Taylor Herndon gave some back). Fellow rookie Zach Stepan had the lone assist on the goal for his first collegiate point. Five freshmen played, the others being defensemen Casey Nelson, Carter Foguth and Sean Flanagan. Flanagan played as a forward as he did in MSU's last game. Casey Nelson and D partner junior Zach Palmquist each finished minus-3. With 13 freshmen and sophomores in the lineup (including goalie Stephon Williams -- 16 saves) -- the Mavericks are younger than you think.
Deep thought: I'm all for good sportsmanship but was a little taken aback when the teams shook hands after tonight's game. Not sure if that's a new WCHA thing or a new college hockey thing. I prefer it after the series, though. While it's not the Stanley Cup playoffs, I like to see the handshake take place after a hard-fought pair of games.
Some game highlights can be seen here.
Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 6, Alaska Anchorage 1 ... Ferris State 5, Alabama Huntsville 0 ... Michigan 3, Michigan Tech 2 (OT) ... Lake Superior 3, Wisconsin 3 (OT) ... Alaska 5, Northern Michigan 4