Friday, March 3, 2017

Mavericks 3, Nanooks 0

Freddy's three thoughts of the game ...

1. Complete game: Minnesota State played a solid, solid game to open the WCHA playoffs. An early goal, good goaltending, a power play goal, an excellent penalty kill ... that's the recipe for a playoff victory. Sean Flanagan had a three-point game, including a goal just 2:05 in. Parker Tuomie, who has been heating up (six points in his last five games) scored twice. And Jason Pawloski carried over his excellent performance in goal last Saturday in Bemidji to get his second career shutout (23 saves). The most impressive stretch of the game came midway through the second period when MSU killed off an 89-second 5-on-3 to preserve a 2-0 lead. "Just a commitment," coach Mike Hastings said. "(C.J. Franklin), I thought, really showed his true colors as a far as a leader, and our defensive corps blocking shots, getting complete clears all the way down to the other end. And ... it’s a 5-on-3 in the second period where you’ve got the long changes and you can get caught."

2. Senior moment: The Mavericks' seniors were solid throughout the game, starting with the first goal. Flanagan scored it, getting assists from Carter Foguth and Zach Stepan. Michael Huntebrinker got a lot of the credit for screening goalie Davis Jones on the play. Huntebrinker later assisted on Tuomie's first goal, and Jordan Nelson assisted on Tuomie's second goal. Foguth finished the game with five blocked shots. Flanagan now has five goals and 16 points for the season.

3. It's not over: If the Mavericks learned anything this season, it's that the Nanooks don't go away easily. A 7-1 victory on Oct. 21 in Fairbanks was answered with a 4-2 Alaska win. Then a 7-3 win in Mankato was answered with a 5-5 tie and a Nanoooks shootout win. "Oh, there're not going away," Hastings said. The Mavericks will have to put together a similar effort on Saturday as they did in the opener to prevent a Game 3 on Sunday. "Everybody knows they're going to come hard," Flanagan said. "They've done it to use a couple of times. We'll have to weather that storm and get on them and play with speed."

Read my game story here.

Around the WCHA: Bemidji State 3, Northern Michigan 0 ... Michigan Tech 6, Lake Superior State 4 ... Bowling Green 6, Ferris State 1

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