Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mavericks 3, Bulldogs 1

Freddy's three thoughts (from afar) ...

1. They're No. 1: Not many teams have held onto the No. 1 ranking after getting it placed upon them this season. The Mavericks, however, will carry the mantle for the second week in a row after scoring an impressive road sweep at Ferris State, a place that simply doesn't see many visiting-team victories. And they did it like a No. 1 team would, finding a way to win after getting down early. The Bulldogs played fast and physical in the first period and grabbed an early 1-0 lead. While the Mavericks didn't score until the third, they didn't let the deficit (something they were experiencing for the first time in eight games, by the way) get any worse. Then they rallied, as they've done a few times this season. They're now 3-1-0 when trailing after two periods.

2. A little adversity: Jon Jutzi has been a spark for the Mavericks since his return to the team after Christmas. But he got the gate on late in the second period Saturday with a checking-from-behind major/game misconduct. The Mavericks, who were trailing 1-0 at the time, killed the penalty and then cashed in on their own 5-minute power play with a goal by Brad McClure. From there, Carter Foguth and C.J. Franklin scored goals. Coach Mike Hastings had high praise for McClure and fellow defenseman Zach Palmquist (two assists) for the way they picked up their games after Jutzi's exit, which left the D corps a little thin. "They just elevated their games," Hastings said.

3. Dueling goalies: C.J. Motte has been very good in goal for Ferris State his whole career, and that hasn't changed this year (just ask the Mavericks in the second period on Saturday!). He's not getting much goal support, however. One reason for that this weekend was Minnesota State goaltender Stephon Williams, who was rock-solid throughout the series. He stopped 21 of 22 shots on Saturday and 45 of 47 for the series. He didn't stand on his head and steal points; he was good, just like he was when the Mavericks swept then-No. 1 Michigan Tech in November. Williams is now 14-2-1 with a .922 save percentage and a 1.71 goals-against average.

Deep thought: The Mavericks made a couple of lineup changes from Friday, sitting F Jean-Paul LaFontaine and D Blake Thompson. It was the second time in two weeks that LaFontaine, the senior with 120 career points, was a scratch. When asked about the changes, Hastings brought up his team's depth (Michael Huntebrinker and Sean Flanagan were the replacements), saying: "You have to keep progressing with your team and give players an opportunity because you think they deserve it. We've got to continue to get better, and when guys are doing what you're asking the them to do, you need to give them an opportunity."

For more on the game, go here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Michigan Tech 2 ... Lake Superior Sate 4, Bemidji State 2 ... Alabama Huntsville 3, Northern Michigan 2 ... Alaska Anchorage 3, Alaska 2 (OT)

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