Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mavericks 4, Bulldogs 3

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Boy, that escalated quickly: When the new WCHA was created, fans mourned the loss of Minnesota State's longtime rivals. More than 4,600 people showed up Saturday to see the Mavericks play and finish off a series sweep of No. 2 Ferris State, and they saw as good a battle as the Verizon Wireless Center has seen in quite some time. If a game like that -- if a weekend like that -- doesn't keep the students and fans coming back for more, nothing will. The two best teams in the league played like it was mid-March, not mid-January. Didn't matter that it wasn't North Dakota or Minnesota or Wisconsin ... instant classic. Now the question is: Will they meet again at the Final Five in Grand Rapids?

2. I mean, that really got out of hand fast: Here are the grand totals for the game: 43 penalties. 216 penalty minutes. 6 ejections, including three (should be four) disqualifications. The building was a madhouse midway through the third period after a melee ensued following a play in which MSU's Teddy Blueger and FSU's Justin DeMartino went into the boards after a Blueger scoring chance. The two went at it, and then Bulldogs goalie C.J. Motte joined in against Blueger. Zach Stepan, Carter Fougth, Brett Stern, Bryce Gervais also ended up in the box for the Mavs before Blueger and Stepan were sent to the showers along with DeMartino and Motte. For some reason Motte was not assessed a fighting DQ along with the others. Wonder if that will change.

3. It jumped up a notch: It did, didn't it? Jean-Paul LaFontaine scored two goals and had an assist. Johnny McInnis had a goal and an assist. Matt Leitner had two assists. Dylan Margonari scored a goal, and Cole Huggins had a rock-solid 32 saves. The Mavericks' best players had to be at their best against such a good team as Ferris (and they are a good team). LaFontaine and Leitner fished the weekend with five points apiece (three goals for LaFontaine), and McInnis had three goals and four points. "When you compare last week to this week, it was like two different hockey teams," McInnis said. "We're focusing on getting better."

Deep thought: I don't condone fans throwing things on the ice, but the nacho cheese buffalo wings sauce was a new one. It took a linesman with a towel and, later, some arena workers to wash and scrape the mess, which hit the ice during the brewhaha. But it did lead to this question: What takes longer, cleaning frozen cheese sauce off an ice rink or WCHA referees sorting out a mess of penalties? The answer was the refs (of course).

Quote of the night: This is in the story below but worth repeating. From Mike Hastings: "That was a playoff hockey game. What wasn't involved in that game, right?"

Read the game story here.

Around the WCHA: Alaska 4, Northern Michigan 3 ... Anchorage 4, Huntsville 1 ... Notre Dame 4, Lake Superior 2 ... North Dakota 4, Bemidji State 2

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