Friday, March 18, 2016

Mavericks 2, Falcons 1

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Mr. March: He was known as Captain Clutch while playing hockey in the BCHL due to his postseason prowess, and Brad McClure has continued that for the Mavericks. Coming off a four-point weekend against Lake Superior State in last weekend's first-round playoff series, McClure got things started right for MSU on Friday, scoring the first goal of the game to help them move on to the Broadmoor Trophy game. McClure, the the MVP of last year's Final Final Five, sophomore-slumped his way to seven points in the regular season but now has five in the postseason. "He’s gone through a trying season," coach Mike Hastings said. "But when you look at the history that Brett has, I trust history, and he’s got a history of scoring and he’s got history of scoring big goals."

2. MVPs unite: While McClure was the 2015 Final Five MVP, goaltender Cole Huggins was the 2014 MVP. Huggins was also rock solid on Friday, stopping 23 of 24 shots, including some huge saves of his 10 in the second period."It seems like the higher the bar, the more calm he is," McClure said of Huggins. In a funny moment in the postgame press conference, Casey Nelson (who scored MSU's other goal) said of Huggins, "He's very chill," to which Hastings said, "I don't know what that means." The Mavericks weathered the storm late in the game, even though they took a pair of penalties in the final 7 1/2 minutes (allowing one power-play goal, a 6-on-4 one with an extra attacker) and closed things out from there.

3. Starting fast: How important is the first goal for the Mavericks? When they've scored first this season, they're 14-1-5. When they have the lead after one period they're 11-0-1. When they have a lead after two periods, they're 15-0-3. "They're a difficult team to chase down," Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron said. "We were chasing them the whole game, and that makes it hard." The Mavericks' two goals came 1:42 apart in the first period, starting with McClure's goal at 5:18. "That was a very important start to the game," Hastings said. "I thought we started with good energy. It helps you get off to a confident start, and I thought the guys played quick, played fast early."

Deep thought: Minnesota State notched victory No. 100 in the four-year Mike Hastings era. That's quite a run in a short amount of time.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: In the other semifinal, Ferris State's Kenny Babinski broke a scoreless tie at 11:15 of the third period to help his team pull off a 1-0 upset of Michigan Tech. Bulldogs goalie Darren Smith made 30 saves, and the Huskies' Jamie Phillips stopped 32 of 33 shots.

The Broadmoor Trophy championship game between the Mavericks and Bulldogs will be played at 5:07 p.m. Saturday. They split a series in Nov. 6-7 in Big Rapids, Mich., with Ferris State winning 7-4 and MSU winning 3-2.

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