Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nanooks 4, Mavericks 2

Freddy's three thoughts (from afar):

1. Winning streak ends: The Mavericks won seven games in a row before Christmas break and had that streak broken by the Nanooks despite a lopsided shots-on-goal advantage. MSU doubled up Alaska in shots on goal, 38-19, including an 18-2 advantage in the second period but couldn't get much past goalie Davis Jones. Matt Leitner scored MSU's first goal from Bryce Geravis and Zach Palmquist in the second period. After Alaska made it 3-1 late in the third, the Mavericks pulled goalie Cole Huggins for an extra attacker with just under 4 minutes left and made it a one-goal game again on a goal by Johnny McInnis from Brett Stern and Palmquist. MSU was 0 for 5 on the power play.

2. Alaska's top line: Watching online, it didn't look like the Nanooks had a lot of depth, but their top-line guys are good. Cody Kunyk had a goal (empty-netter at the end) and two assists, Tyler Morley had two goals and an assist, and Colton Beck and a goal and an assist. They took advantage of their opportunities. Their second and third goals, both of which came in the three-goal third period, were on odd-man rushes. Kunyk now has 12 goals, which leads the WCHA.

3. Lineup change: Josh Nelson returned to the ice for the first time since Game 3 and appeared to play a lot of minutes, including the power play. The Mavericks have some depth there now; it's too bad their offensive depth couldn't get things going early on. It will be interesting to see Saturday's lineup. With the U.S. losing to Russia on Thursday in the World Junior Championships, players headed home earlier than expected. Zach Stepan is on his way to Alaska to meet up with the Mavericks. I'm guessing there's a chance he plays, even with the 10-hour time difference from Sweden.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 7, Alabama Huntsville 0 ... Northern Michigan 4, Bemidji State 1 ... Lake Superior State 4, Michigan Tech 3 ... Alaska Anchorage 3, Wisconsin 2 ... Ferris State 6, RPI 2

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