Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...
1. Drought continues: Minnesota State started the season 6-1-0 but has since one just once in five games. The Mavericks have scored eight goals in those last five games, five in the last four, including two in two games against Bemidji State. Lots of credit has to go to Michael Bitzer, the Beavers' outstanding goaltender, who has a save percentage of .944 right now, .963 against conference opponents. But MSU's goal-output has to be a concern. With the way the Mavericks scored goals early in the year, it appeared those issues were behind them this season. Not so right now. Coach Mike Hastings said the team's effort and attitude are fine right now, but scoring is the puzzle. "That’s the job, I think, of the staff," he said. "It’s our job to provide them with some answers and how-to."
2. Catch them if you can: Bemidji State is 9-0-1 in league play with a 3-on-3 OT win on Friday, giving it 29 points. With the three-point system, it seems the Beavers are running away with the WCHA. They have a 12-point lead over second-place Michigan Tech and a 13-point lead over third-place MSU. There's a lot of season left, of course, but they're rolling right now. They're a confident team that plays a disciplined style (although one that has more offense that previous versions, making it quite dangerous). Minnesota State will play at Bemidji on Feb. 24-25, the final weekend of the regular season. It will be interesting to see where those teams are at.
3. Foguth out: Mavericks senior defenseman, co-captain and minutes-muncher Carter Foguth was on the line chart an hour before the game but ended up being scratched. Hastings wouldn't detail his injury, only saying that Foguth woke up Saturday not feeling right. Hastings said he wanted to be cautious and not risk anything by playing him. Alec Vanko, who was a scratch on Friday, got in the lineup, but it was converted forward Ryan Schwalbe, who logged a lot of minutes, along with Clint Lewis. Foguth's injury left MSU without their top two defensemen, as Daniel Brickley remains out with his injury. "You have 5 not in the lineup; you have 8 not in the lineup," Hastings said, referring to Foguth and Brickley, respectively, by their numbers. "We’ve got to collectively find a way. We might not be as gifted offensively with those guy out of the lineup so you better find ways."
Read my game story here.
Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech 4, Lake Superior State 2 ... Bowling Green 5, Northern Michigan 3 ... Alaska 3, Alabama Huntsville 1 ... Penn State 3, Alaska Anchorage 1 ... Michigan State 4, Ferris State 3