Friday, November 21, 2014

Mavericks 2, Huskies 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game:

1. Little Willy Willy won't give up goals: As I write in my gamer (link below), all eyes were on Michigan Tech goaltender Jamie Phillips, who was outstanding in shutting out the Mavericks for almost 52 minutes on Friday night. But when the Mavericks scored two quick goals and took a 2-1 lead with 8 minutes to play, attention turned to Stephon Williams in the MSU net. Williams played his best game of the season, maybe his best game since his freshman year and stopped 30 of 31 shots for the win over No. 1 Tech. He had 15 saves in the third period alone and stopped seven shots on the penalty kill. He gave a lot of credit to his teammates for they way they defended. "I had a lot of games where I faced just 15-16 shots," he said. "I know that's not going to happen all year. But when you do give up a lot of shots, it's the quality (of shots) you're giving up. I'm fortunate that my team doesn't give up a lot of quality chances."

2. Stern warning: It's probably not often that you see Teddy Blueger defer to Brett Stern for a quality goal-scoring opportunity, but that's what happened on the game-tying goal. Good work by rookie C.J. Franklin to bust down the ice on the forecheck and get the puck to Blueger and to Blueger for noticing Stern sneaking down toward the hash marks where he fired a shot that "had eyes" (Stern's words) and beat Phillips above the blocker. Stern, a senior defenseman has five career goals now, two this season. "Brett's done a better job over the last year and a half working on his offensive game," coach Mike Hastings said. "And he's been rewarded for that work." Stern actually led the Mavericks in the game with six shots on goal. Sophomore defenseman Carter Foguth also picked up a point, is first of the season, assisting on Dylan Margonari's game-winning goal.

3. Knocking off No. 1: The Mavericks certainly seemed to keep the win over the top-ranked Huskies in perspective. After all, it's still November. Lots of hockey left to be played. Including Saturday night's series finale. "It's good to beat a top-ranked team," said Margonari, who scored his third goal of the season and the 21st of his career. "But we've still got business to do tomorrow. We've got to try to get that sweep." Stern echoed those sentiments, saying "It's just another game. Every weekend is going to be tough." The Mavericks are still chasing the Huskies in the WCHA standings, too, and trying to keep pace with Bowling Green. "(Tech coach) Mel (Pearson) and I talked about this before the game," Hastings said. "This league is difficult to play in — every single weekend. It's got great goaltending, great coaches and guys who compete their tail off."

Read my Free Press game story here.

Around the WCHA: Alabama Huntsville 3, Ferris State 2 (!) ... Bowling Green 3, Bemidji State 1 ... Alaska 7, Lake Superior State 5 ... Northern Michigan 1, Alaska Anchorage

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