Saturday, January 23, 2016

Mavericks 5, Lakers 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. One-sided series: Minnesota State improved its all-time record against Lake Superior State to 10-0-0 with Saturday's victory. The Mavericks have outscored the Lakers 53-11 in those games. One player who has been excellent playing in all but two of those games is MSU's C.J. Franklin. Franklin scored two goals on Saturday to cap a five-point weekend (3-2) and has 12 points (5-7) in eight games against the Lakers. Coach Mike Hastings praised the defensive play of his newfound center, saying, "(Lake Superior State) didn’t spend a lot of time in their own end, and, with that, (Franklin) had the puck on his stick quite a bit. I just thought he had a really good weekend." Franklin sure seems like a shoo-in for WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

2. Putting on a show: With 13 goals on the weekend, the Verizon Wireless Center crowds certainly entertained. Franklin's goals were beauties, a snipe off a rush on which he used a defender to screen goalie Nick Kossoff and one in which he batted the out of the air on the power play. Jordan Nelson scored a short-handed goal, Michael Huntebrinker one-timed in a perfect pass from fast-rising freshman Max Coatta, and Bryce Gervais ended a nine-game goal-less slump with a power-play goal. MSU was 2 for 6 on the power play and had three goals with the man advantage on the weekend. The Mavericks also had a goal by Max Coatta inexplicably waved off after video review. Apparently the ruling was Huntebrinker, who was in the crease and had taken a shot impeded Kossoff's movement to play the rebound.

3. Ugly ending: Unfortunately, the game ended with a nasty, blindsided elbow to the head of Nelson by Lakers freshman Jake Hand. The play, which occurred with 15 seconds left in the game, caused a little dust-up in which seven players from the two teams received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties while Nelson lay on the ice (he eventually got to his feet but was assisted out of the rink). Hand rightly received a major penalty and game disqualification, which will come with a one-game suspension. He ought to get at least another game for that hit, however, as it has absolutely no place in the sport, especially one that's supposedly concerned about player safety. "I'm really hoping our league handles it in the appropriate way," Hastings said.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Ferris State 1, Bemidji State 1 (OT)

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