Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mavericks 4, Seawolves 0

Pat Christman/The Free Press
Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Outcome in doubt: For nearly two periods, the Mavericks could not solve UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha. The freshman, who just might be handed the title of the WCHA's best rookie goalie (one held by MSU's Cole Huggins and Stephon Williams the last two seasons), stopped 49 of 53 shots and kept the Mavericks off the board until 4:55 remained in the second period. He stopped 20 shots in the first period. That goal was a greasy put-back by Teddy Blueger after a Brad McClure steal and shot. "The way the first goal was scored was the way I thought they'd have to be scored," MSU coach Mike Hastings said.

2. Closing time: Blueger's goal gave the Mavericks a slim 1-0 lead to start the third period. But they hardly gave the Seawolves a sniff the rest of the way, outshooting UAA 17-2 in the third period (33-5 in the second and third combined) and building up their lead with power-play goals by Bryce Gervais and Zach Palmquist and a 4-on-4 tally by Zach Stepan. Gervais now has 20 goals; he's the fourth player in Hastings' three seasons to score 20. The others were Johnny McInnis (21) and Jean-Paul Lafontaine (20) last year and Eriah Hayes (20) two years ago. With the pace Gervais is on, it seems like matching Shane Joseph's D1-era high of 29 is a possibility.

3. Packing them in: Really nice crowd of 4,870, just shy of a sellout, I'm told. Hastings applauded them as he left the rink after the game and raved about the full arena during postgame. Good night for autograph night (and thanks to Williams for taking a couple minutes to talk before going out to sign). If my late-night math is correct, the Mavericks are averaging 3,857 per game this season with two hugely anticipated games against Michigan Tech coming in three weeks. That average is the best at the Verizon Wireless Center since MSU had 3,880 per game in 2009-10. The all-time best was 4,552 in '08-09.

Read my game story, which features a quiet but well-deserved shutout by Williams, here.

Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech 2, Bemidji State 1 ... Bowling Green 3, Ferris State 2 ... Minnesota Duluth 6, Northern Michigan 3 ... Lake Superior at Alaska (late)

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