Friday, December 6, 2013

Mavericks 3, Wildcats 2

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

1. Attention, Team USA: Zach Stepan was left off the preliminary roster for the U.S. National Junior Team, which will play in the World Junior Championships after Christmas. If the team adds to the list (which officials said they might do, depending on injuries), Stepan made a good case for himself on Friday with a goal and an assist and a team-high six shots on net. He and Dylan Margonari had some good chemistry in the first period as each helped the other score and give the Mavericks a 2-0 lead. Whether Stepan makes the U.S. team or not, the Mavericks appear to have quite the young player. 

2. Leit's going on: The game-winning goal by Matt Leitner was a thing of beauty. Once again, it's too bad that this place doesn't have a jumbotron for folks to re-watch that goal in the building. I'd like to see it again. Maybe later this week. Leitner took a pass from Zach Lehrke (another power-play assist for him, by the way) as he gained speed in the neutral zone, and with other teammates waiting onside a the blue line, he skated in and zipped past three defenders standing like statues before shooting a quickie past goalie Mathias Dahlstrom. Leitner also did great work helping kill off more than a minute of 5x3 time for NMU during the second period.

3. Not deterred: The Mavericks outshot the Wildcats 41-16 and carried play most of the night. Minnesota State had the puck; Northern Michigan didn't. Still, the game was tied 2-2 before Leitner's goal at 11:52 of the third. The Mavericks let a 2-0 lead slip away, just as they did last Friday against Alaska Anchorage, giving up a goal late in a dominant first period. NMU tied the game with a power play 29 seconds into the third. But the Mavericks' dauber wasn't down; they kept playing with speed, kept making plays and kept getting good chances against Dahlstrom, who could have stolen that game. Instead, MSU won its fourth straight game and for the fifth time in six WCHA games.

Read my game story here. Game stats here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Alabama Huntsville 0 ... Bemidji State 2, Michigan Tech 2 (OT) ... Ferris State 5, Lake Superior 3 ... Alaska Anchorage 3, Alaska 2

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