1. Offensive explosion: The Mavericks scored a season-high number of goals on Friday night, surpassing the total they scored in the last four games combined. It was nice to see a team that has had so many chances throughout the year finally break out — and they did it in front of a home crowd that wanted to see some offense. C.J. Franklin had a goal and two assists, and freshman Max Coatta scored two goals (his first-period goal was given to Brett Knowles, much to the chagrin of the person who loss his hat tossing it on the ice thinking Coatta had a hat trick). Five other players had goals, too, and 13 players had at least one point. The Mavericks even scored a power-play goal, something they hadn't done in the previous six games. Before Zeb Knutson's power-play goal, the Mavericks were 0 for their previous 24 tries.
2. Huggins returns: Junior goaltender Cole Huggins stopped 17 shots for his eighth career shutout. Huggins got the nod after freshman Jason Pawloski was injured in practice this week. Pawloski started 13 games in a row. Huggins' last start was on Nov. 13. "Going into it, I tried not to think about (the layoff) too much," Huggins said. "I know my teammates believe in me." Huggins had to be good in the game's first 8-10 minutes. He made five saves, while his teammates struggled to get out of the gate. "(The Lakers) came out and buzzed us," coach Mike Hastings said. "Huggins gave us an opportunity to stay even." Huggins stopped 10 shots in the second period but only faced two in the third. "You just have to stay ready," Huggins said. "If the other guy is playing well, you're happy of him, and if the team's winning, that's all you want."
3. It starts with defense: You can read more about Hastings' lineup changes in the gamer below, but both he and Franklin credited the defense for the way it got the offense going. Hastings has long been insisted that MSU's defensemen have to be part of the attack, and they were. Casey Nelson had three assists (he was also +3 and blocked four shots), and freshman Daniel Brickley scored his first career goal (he was +4). Carter Foguth and Alec Vanko had assists, and Sean Flanagan was robbed of a goal by LSSU goalie Gordon Defiel in the second period. Hastings also credited Franklin's defensive play, especially since his role changed moving from wing to center for the first time. "I thought he did a real good job defensively tonight, which, in turn, sometimes help you create offense because you’re not spending time in your own end," the coach said.
Read my game story here.
Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 6, Alaska Anchorage 2 ... Ferris State 3, Bemidji State 2 (OT)