Friday, January 13, 2017

Falcons 3, Mavericks 2 (OT)

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Missed opportunities: As I write about in my gamer (link below), the Mavericks failed to cash in on a power play in overtime (they were 0 for 4 with the man advantage) and ended up falling later in the extra frame. They were the only WCHA team that did not secure at least one point for the standings on Friday as the other three games were decided in 3-on-3 play. Minnesota State also had one goal in the first period despite a 15-6 shot advantage and a whole lot of time spent in the Bowling Green zone. They missed nets, too. Brad McClure had a rock-solid six shots on goal and played well, but missed the net on some good chances, too — shots that looked as if they had goalie Chris Nell beat.

2. All in on Nelson: Junior goalie Aaron Nelson started his third game in a row (his third-ever game) and made 23 saves. There was little he could have done about any of the Falcons' goals, which came from two of their best snipers, Kevin Dufour (two goals) and Mitch McLain (the OT winner and league-leading 15th of the season). "I've got no blame for (Nelson)," coach Mike Hastings said. "He gave us an opportunity to win a hockey game. That's all you can ask out of your goaltender. ... Competitor."

3. Step forward: Senior forward Zach Stepan gave Minnesota State a 2-1 lead late in the second period, putting back the rebound of a Jordan Nelson shot. It was Stepan's third goal of the season and third in the last two games. Playing with Michael Huntebrinker and Zeb Knutson, Stepan had five shots on goal and looked like an impact player. It's taken awhile for him to get to that spot this year after starting the season on the injured list. "Coming off the injury with us starting out so hot, it was a hard lineup to crack," he said. "I got a shot last week; I just had to make sure I was ready for it." That secondary scoring could be a key down the stretch; but the top line can't be blanked.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Alaska Anchorage 3, Michigan Tech 3 (UAA wins in 3x3 OT) ... Alaska 3, Ferris State 3 (UAF wins in 3x3 OT) ... Lake Superior State 1, Northern Michigan 1 (LSSU wins in 3x3 OT)

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