Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mavericks 5, Wildcats 3

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. The streak ends: Minnesota State put a quick end to Atte Tolvanen's great shutout streak, getting a goal from Zeb Knutson just 3:26 into the game. Tolvanen needed to shut out the Mavericks for two periods to get the NCAA's all-time shutout minutes record after tying the mark for most shutout games with five last week. His streak ended at 339 minutes, 5 seconds. The record was 375:01. From there, the Mavericks poured on the goals, making nifty plays and scoring five in all from five different players. Minnesota State scored three goals in the first period, playing one of its finest opening periods of the season.

2. Third line shines: The Mavericks' third line scored two goals and was all-around solid throughout the game. Jordan Nelson returned after missing five games with an injury did a lot of dirty work, killing penalties, winning faceoffs. He set up Parker Tuomie's goal by controlling the puck below the goal line and extending a shift. And although he didn't get a point on Max Coatta's goal, he buzzed through the slot just a the right time to distract Tolvanen as Coatta banged in a rebound. Each player on the line was +2. Tuomie had a goal and an assist and had six shots on goal.

3. The fourth, too: Freshman forward Nicholas Rivera scored the game-winning goal, a beauty of a play in which he batted Josh French's shot out of the air and behind the goalie. Rivera was scratched for the first time this season in the second game at Alaska Anchorage, MSU's last game, and ... message received. His short-handed goal came 58 seconds after the Wildcats made it 3-2 in the second period. "Nicky had a phenomenal week of practice," coach Mike Hastings said, adding that players called Rivera the MVP of the week. "It was great to see that roll over to his Friday game." The fourth line was an all-freshman group with Charlie Gerard on it, too.

Deep thought: Sorry for the late post and for no video. Tonight was the annual "media game," in which media (Puckato included) and other dignitaries skate at the Verizon Center after the MSU game (and, for me, after my main story is filed). A good time was had by all, and I suspect I'll be sore in the morning.

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Ferris State 2, Alaska Anchorage 1 ... Alaska 4, Lake Superior State 2

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