Saturday, December 12, 2015

Mavericks 4, Chargers 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game:

1. Hunty stays hot: Michael Huntebrinker got things going for the Mavericks for the second game in a row. Minnesota State trailed 1-0 after one period, just as it did on Friday night, and the junior center tied things up, just as he did on Friday. Instead of waiting until the third period, however, he scored at 4:12 of the second, a spark that led to three goals in the frame. Huntebrinker, who added an empty-net goal, has points in his last eight games and now has 13 for the year, which ranks second only behind Teddy Blueger (who assisted on a goal) on the team's scoring list. "I thought we played hard in the first period," Huntebrinker said. "We felt if we stuck to what we were doing, eventually, it was going to break for us. In the second, it did."

2. Break time: The Mavericks finally made it through their first 20 games, playing 10 consecutive weekends since the start of the season. Despite being bruised and battered, especially on defense, they go into their first break of the season on a nine-game unbeaten streak and in first place in the WCHA standings. Coach Mike Hastings said he expects his team to come out of their three weeks off as healthy as they've been , with Carter Foguth, Zach Stepan and Sean Flanagan back, possibly Clint Lewis, too. In the meantime, though, their young and somewhat patchwork D-corps, including sophomore Jaden Schmeisser (more on him in the game story linked below) was a key to getting the job done on Saturday.

3. Pawloski still unbeaten: Freshman goaltender Jason Pawloski stopped 14 of 15 shots to improve his record to 7-0-4. Once again, he didn't have to deal with a lot of shots, as the Mavericks did such a good job possessing the puck and keeping it away from Huntsville. However, he made two huge, back-to-back, saves during a strong push by the Chargers when it was still 2-1 in the second period. Pawloski has started every game of the Mavericks' unbeaten streak. His 1.62 goals-against average is tied for fifth in the nation.

Guest deep thought from "Hockey Correspondent" and former Free Press stringer Dan Myers: There’s a lot of hockey left, but MSU’s nine-game unbeaten streak has at least put itself back into the at-large discussion for the NCAA Tournament. The win Saturday moved Minnesota State up to No. 17 in the Pairwise Rankings; not bad for a team that started the season 0-4. “We dug a little bit of a ditch there to start the season,” Hastings said. “To find ways to get through the adversity we’ve had, hopefully we’ve grown.” One spot ahead of MSU in the Pairwise? Bowling Green, who trails the Mavericks by two points for first place in the WCHA standings.

Read my gamer here.

Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech 6, Lake Superior State 2 ... Northern Michigan 3, Ferris State 2 (OT) ... Bowling Green 2, Bemidji State 0 ... Alaska at Alaska Anchorage (late)

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