Friday, March 13, 2015

Mavericks 9, Lakers 2

Freddy's three thoughts of the game:

1. They've got the power: Minnesota State went a whopping 6 for 10 on the power play Friday night en route to the win in the first game of its WCHA playoff series. Although the game was tied 2-2 early in the second period, the Mavericks flexed their No. 2-ranked muscles (even as the Lakers were trying to flex theirs, play that resulted in 11 penalties) and scored seven unanswered goals — four in the second period. Matt Leitner scored two power-play goals, and Max Gaede, Bryce Gervais, Dylan Margonari and Jean-Paul LaFontaine had the others. LaFontaine finished the game with a goal and three assists (two PP helpers). Interestingly, with all of the power-play goals, no one on MSU's roster was more than +2 and no Lakers were worse than -2.

2. The rout is on: The last time the Mavericks scored nine goals in a game was in a 9-1 win over Alabama Huntsville on Dec. 10, 2011. They outshot the Lakers 59-18, including a 24-7 advantage in the second period. Minnesota State simply played like a top seed against an eighth seed, which might be easier said than done (second-seeded Michigan Tech survived triple-overtime against Alabama Huntsville on Friday, winning 1-0). I can recall several times when MSU was a low seed and played a high seed tough. But I also recall some routs with the Mavericks losing 7-1 at Wisconsin in '09 and 7-2 at Minnesota in '05. The Mavericks also got beat 10-0 by North Dakota in 1998 when they were an affiliate member of the WCHA. Having to play the No. 1 seed, MSU upset the then-Sioux 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 and lost Game 2 3-2 before getting crushed in the third game.

3. Up the charts: Matt Leitner got a little bit closer to the Mavericks' Division I-era scoring record with a three-point game. He's now three points shy of Aaron Fox's 164 points. Can he do it at home on Saturday night? Leitner improved his DI-era best assist mark to 112, while LaFontaine moved into third place all alone in assists with 79 total. When asked about his four-point game, a real breakout for a guy who's had an up-and-down senior season, LaFontaine said, "It's playoff hockey. No one cares who scores or how it gets done. It's all about how the team is going." Another senior, Chase Grant, scored his first goal since scoring two against Lake Superior State on Nov. 28.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 3, Northern Michigan 2 (OT) ... Ferris State 4, Bemidji State 1 ... Michigan Tech 1, Alabama Huntsville 0 (3OT).

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