Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mavericks 4, Chargers 1

Freddy's three thoughts from afar ...

1. Seven in row: Just as they did at this time a year ago, the Mavericks have won seven straight games to put themselves into a pretty good position. They're now 11-7-0 overall and 9-3-0 in the WCHA. They're in second place in the league, four points behind red-hot Ferris State. Both teams have played 12 conference games. In the Mavericks' run they have outscored opponents 27-11. Once again Saturday, the power play carried the day, going 3 for 10, including a pair of late goals by Matt Leitner and Chase Grant to ice the game.

2. Willy's back: Stephon Williams got the start in goal, and while he stopped 17 of 18 shots while teammates put 46 on net at the other end, he had to be sharp. He stopped a short-handed breakaway early in the game when it was still scoreless, as well as another partial breakaway and a few more tough shots. That's two pretty good outings in a row for Williams. "He looked like he was back into it," coach Mike Hastings said. "He looked like he was back in the zone." Williams is now 4-4-0. Could he get a start in the Mavericks' next regular-season outing in his hometown of Fairbanks?

3. Getting ugly: The Mavericks' late power-play goals came as a result of a pair of major penalties by Huntsville's Frank Misuraca and Ben Reinhardt. They hit Brett Knowles and Zach Stepan from behind, although the hit on Stepan looked more like a high, dirty elbow from the TV replay. Both MSU players were down on the ice for awhile and had to be helped off the rink. Not sure of their status, although Hastings said he thought Stepan would be OK. Stepan is due to join the U.S. Junior National Team on Sunday night in Minneapolis. The game was still just 2-1 when the hits happened; not sure what those players were thinking. Clearly more interested in delivering big hits than winning the game. Hastings said he expects the WCHA will review the plays.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 4, Michigan Tech 4 (OT) ... Alaska 5, Bemidji State 1 ... Ferris State 2, Michigan State 0 ... North Dakota 3, Northern Michigan 1 ... Lake Superior at Alaska Anchorage (late)

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