Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mavericks 2, Nanooks 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Another sweep: It's been an impressive couple of weeks for Minnesota State, sweeping at Bemidji State and then doing the same at home to Alaska, two teams in the WCHA that gave the Mavericks plenty of fits last season. While it would be hard for this team to top what last year's did during the regular season, going 4-0 against teams that they went 4-4-1 against last year is a pretty darn good way to start off the conference schedule. The Mavericks didn't lead on Saturday night until Brett Knowles' laser shot from Bryce Gervais with 7:15 remaining in the third period (read more about Knowles in my gamer), although they had plenty of quality chances throughout the night. Nanooks goalie Davis Jones was rock solid, and he got some help as two — possibly three — goals were waved off due to quick whistles.

2. No fireworks: Tyler Morely was suspended for his Friday-night hit on Jimmy Mullin, and, although there was some physical play early, the game didn't turn into a slugfest, as some might have expected (that seldom happens when you think it will). In fact, the Mavericks never had to use their penalty kill at all, while the Nanooks put MSU on the power play five times, allowing one goal by Teddy Blueger in the second period that tied things up. Mullin was a scratch, and we'll have to wait and see how much longer he's out, if at all. Freshman Steen Cooper took Mullin's spot in the lineup, making an all-freshman fourth line with Ryan Schwalbe and Max Coatta.

3. Huggins comes through: Cole Huggins got Saturday-night duties in goal and finished off the sweep for the second week in a row. The junior stopped 23 shots, allowing only a rebound goal after the puck squirted out of a pile in front of the net midway through the first period. He only faced 11 shots in the first two periods but had to stop 12 in the third. The Mavericks outshot the Nanooks 39-24 but were outshot 12-5 in the final 20 minutes. "I thought he really bucked up in the third period and was solid," coach Mike Hastings said. "Solid. He held. (The Nanooks) go to the net about as hard as any team in the league, and I thought he did a good job holding his ground."

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Alaska Anchorage 4, Bowling Green 2 ... Alabama Huntsville 5, Lake Superior State 0 ... Ferris State 3, Michigan Tech 2 ... Northern Michigan 3, Bemidji State 1

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