Friday, January 15, 2016

Mavericks 2, Huskies 2 (OT)

Freddy's three thoughts of the game:

1. Even teams: The Mavericks met one of their equals on Friday night. Michigan Tech is a very similar team to MSU in that it likes to get up and down the rink and defends very well (the Mavs and Huskies rank 11th and 13th nationally in goals allowed per game) with good goaltending to boot. As a result, the 3,000-plus fans at the MacInnis Student Ice Arena saw an entertaining 2-2 overtime game in which MSU had a slight 32-29 edge in shots on goal. Tech made MSU defend more than it's been used to for much of the season, so give the Mavericks some credit for adjusting to a speedier team, especially in the third period when the home team really made a push. Despite their similarities,  MSU improved its unbeaten streak against Tech to 10 games (7-0-3).

2. Goalies get it done: Both MSU's Jason Pawloski and Tech's Jamie Phillips were rock-solid in goal, with Phillips doing the work early when he stopped 16 first-period shots to keep the game scoreless at the first intermission and Pawloski shining late when he stopped 12 of 13 shots in the third period. Each goalie made a highlight save in overtime to ensure his team secured one point in the WCHA standings. Pawloski looked calm and collected as usual, impressing at least one observer in the press box who was surprised to see that he's a freshman. Phillips, a 6-foot-3 senior, has been a staple in the Huskies' lineup for a season and a half and is simply hard to beat.

3. Fourth line comes through: Jordan Nelson (in video above) centers Minnesota State's fourth line, and scored his first goal of the season, giving MSU a 2-1 lead with 4:00 left in the third period. His wingers were solid, too, as Jimmy Mullin assisted on both Maverick goals (his first two assists of the season), and Brett Knowles had a solid overall game. "I think he challenged himself to be a difference maker," coach Mike Hastings said of Nelson, a junior. "I thought he and 24 and 14 (calling Knowles and Mullin by their jersey numbers) were a really good group for us tonight. I thought they contrinbuted in a lot of different ways."

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Alabama Huntsville 3, Ferris State 3 (OT) ... Alaska 3, Northern Michigan 2 (OT) ... Bemidji State 5, Arizona State 0

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