Friday, March 14, 2014

Mavericks 3, Wildcats 2

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Power surge: A week after going scoreless on the power play, the Mavericks scored two big power-play goals in the second period on Friday night. But it wasn't the usual suspects who did the scoring. It was the second unit, with the red-hot Bryce Gervais (eight goals in his last 12 games) and defenseman Sean Flanagan scoring the goals and Teddy Blueger and Zach Stepan each assisting on the two goals. Flanagan's goal put MSU up 3-0 before the game's midway point, and the Mavs needed it as Northern Michigan made a third-period push.

2. Solid in goal: Just two pucks got to goalie Cole Huggins in the first period and after two he saw eight in all (giving up one goal). But he didn't get sleepy back there. The freshman stopped a short-handed breakaway in the second period and 9 of 10 shots in the third to help the Mavericks win Game 1. "It can be hard for a goaltender," coach Mike Hastings said. "You have to stay mentally strong. When (the Wildcats) put their foot to the floor and we started to back in and let them dictate pace, he showed some mental stability and some mental toughness."

3. Big picture: The Mavericks moved up to 13th in the Pairwise Rankings. But that shouldn't make the team too comfortable considering how fluid those standings can be. The goal is to keep winning and get to the Final Five in Grand Rapids next week. Minnesota State can wrap that up with a win on Saturday night or, if necessary, Sunday. Certainly, the Mavericks would like to get it done in two games.

Deep thought: Attendance was 2,157, kind of another head-scratcher, even with the students on spring break (as they were a week ago). Lots of purple seats, even in the season-ticket areas. (By comparison, last year's Game 1 against Nebraska Omaha drew 2,855, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising.)

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Ferris State 8, Bemidji State 0 ... Bowling Green 2, Michigan Tech 1 ... Alaska Anchorage 2, Alaska 1

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