Saturday, January 24, 2015

Beavers 3, Mavericks 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Tough sledding: Bemidji State had a great weekend, first knocking off Minnesota Duluth 4-0 and then beating the No. 1 Mavericks in the championship. Disciplined defensively, the Beavers didn't give up much at all. Their back pressure, MSU coach Mike Hastings said, forced his team into mistakes. The Mavericks also ended up playing a dump-and-chase game that 1) was a little out of character and 2) was ineffective when the Beavers regularly beat them to pucks. That Bemidji State was able to score first and build its lead to three goals only made things more difficult for the Mavericks.

2. Missed opportunities: The Mavericks had two big chances to get back in the game or at least grab some momentum, and they were unable to do it. The first was on a five-minute major late in the second period. MSU actually scored during the major, but it came late and on its first shot on goal. For the first four-plus minutes, the Beavers were winning races to dumped pucks and promptly clearing them down the rink. BSU coach Tom Serratore said that situation was a win for his team against "a team like that, with octane like that on the power play." In the third period, Dylan Margonari was awarded a penalty shot but was stopped by the tournament's MVP, goalie Michael Bitzer.

3. All's not lost: The Mavericks didn't leave St. Paul with a trophy and instead went home with a list of things to work on going forward. They're going to have to get grittier for the stretch run, all WCHA play the rest of the way (including two more games against Bemidji State to close out the regular season ... oh, by the way, the Beavers are unbeaten in nine of their last 11 games). However, MSU remained No. 1 in the Pairwise despite the loss, which was their first since Dec. 5 and snapped a nine-game unbeaten streak. "The margin for error and parity in college hockey showed this weekend," Hastings said.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Lake Superior State 1 ... Michigan Tech 3, Alaska 2 ... Northern Michigan 5, Penn State 5 (OT)

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