Friday, January 2, 2015

Mavericks 4, Wildcats 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Down with the sickness: The Mavericks appeared to be quite healthy to start the second half of the season after getting its last game cancelled due to a team-wide illness. They were dominant against Northern Michigan on Friday night, outshooting the Wildcats 37-20 and getting goals from four different players (Bryce Gervais, Brett Stern, Teddy Blueger and Casey Nelson). Matt Leitner had two assists, including a beautiful set-up for Gervais' 12th of the season, which gave MSU a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Wildcats tied the game early in the second period, but MSU was not deterred, getting goals from Stern and Blueger just nine seconds apart midway through the game.

2. Shake it up: Coach Mike Hastings mixed up his lines a little bit from what the team had been doing for much of the first half of the season. Gervais was moved to Leitner's line, which also had Chase Grant, and Blueger centered Jean-Paul Lafontaine and C.J. Franklin. Michael Huntebrinker replaced Jordan Nelson on the fourth line and also got some power-play time. The Mavericks were able to roll all four of those lines, along with all three sets of defense, throughout the game. Taking just one penalty also helped in that regard, Hastings said.

3. Good problem: Hastings wasn't sure who his starter in the goal was going to be earlier in the week, but went with Cole Huggins for the second game in a row. Huggins stopped 19 of 20 shots and had to make a few tough stops when the game was 1-1 as well as late in the third period when when the Wildcats tried to get their deficit down to two goals. Huggins won his third game in a row and is seeing those ugly early season numbers rise back up. He was, of course, aided by a team that controlled the puck for most of the game, got back on defense and limited odd-man rushes throughout.

Deep thought: Realized late (after filing my gamer) that the Mavericks' victory was the 800th in program history. Since starting hockey in 1969-70, Minnesota State is 800-605-138 all time.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech 8, Wisconsin 1 ... Alabama Huntsville 3, Alaska Anchorage 2 ... Alaska 2, Ferris State 1

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