Freddy's three thoughts from afar:
1. Senior steps up: The Mavericks are going to need a push from their senior class over the second half of the season. Perhaps that started on Saturday night. Senior forward Michael Huntebrinker's goal early in the third period ended up as the game-winner in a wild game in which the Mavericks had two two-goal leads — 2-0 and 4-2 — but couldn't put the Tigers away. The winner, which snapped a 4-4 tie at 4:27 of the third period, was Huntebrinker's third goal of the season but his first since Oct. 29. "We need those guys (seniors) to contribute," coach Mike Hastings said. Before the game, Huntebrinker was moved from the second line to the fourth line. One of his new linemates, freshman Charlie Gerard, assisted on the play.
2. Usual suspects: The Mavericks top line, meanwhile, has been together for the vast majority of the season, and that group was good — as has been the case most of the time, too. Freshman forward Marc Michaelis had a goal and two assists, C.J. Franklin had a goal and an assist and Brad McClure finished two assists. "They had a bit of a challenge," Hastings said. "I think they were minus-2 last night. ... You need to have that group have a significant impact on the game." Through 20 games, Michaelis has 10 goals and 26 points, both of which lead the team. Nicholas Rivera and Daniel Brickley had MSU's other goals, the fourth of the year for both players.
3. Break time: The Mavericks are now off until Jan. 6-7 when they go to Alabama Huntsville. The break will be a good time to rest up. Senior defenseman Carter Foguth sat out again on Saturday, and the penalty kill and the back end could have used his stability again. Besides allowing 36 shots on goal, the Mavericks allowed two power-play goals (one a 5x3), the two goals that turned MSU's 4-2 lead into a 4-4 tie. Jason Pawloski played in goal. Coach Mike Hastings made one change to the defensive lineup, putting in Alec Vanko in place of Ryan Schwalbe. Vanko was +2. "I need to have a plan for us to come back (from break) and be consistent," Hastings said. "At times we can be a very good hockey team, and at times we make it difficult for ourselves."
Read my game story here.