1. Playoff goalie? Minnesota State has started three different goalies in the last three games, and Jason Pawloski's performance on Saturday was the best of the bunch. Really, it was the best MSU has had in quite awhile. The sophomore stopped 27 of 28 shots, including a couple of real steals so the Mavericks could hang on and win the game. He made a couple of highlight-reel saves and stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period when the Beavers outshot them 11-2. Minnesota State isn't exactly rolling into the playoffs with a hot goalie, but Pawloski might be the closest thing to it after Saturday. It was his first action since Dec. 17 at Princeton. Read more about Pawloski in my gamer below.
2. Without Foguth: Carter Foguth was lost for the game midway through the first period when he was called for a hit to the head on a hard check of Nate Arentz. Replay seemed to show a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, and MSU coach Mike Hastings disputed the call (again, see my game story below). The Mavericks other defenders had to step up their game bigly. Freshman Edwin Hookenson probably played more minutes than any other game this season. And Daniel Brickley was Ryan Suter-esque. "I think it was a big challenge for 8," Hastings said, calling Brickely by his jersey number. "People talk about his offense. I thought tonight he defended and defended hard. And he played monster minutes. Whether we were in the box or they were in the box, he was on the ice. And then 5-on-5 minutes he logged more than anybody else on our team."
3. Important win: Saturday's game had no bearing on Minnesota State's place in the standings. But getting a win over Bemidji State and at the Sanford Center isn't to be discounted. The Mavericks could be back in this building in three weeks. "I think it was huge to end the regular season on a good note," said Zeb Knutson, who scored MSU's first goal (Zach Stepan had the second, the game-winner). "Bemidji's kind of had our number the last three games. It was good to put it in our heads that we can beat them if we play them again. We know what it takes."
Read my game story here.
Around the WCHA: Bowling Green 2, Alabama Huntsville 0 ... Northern Michigan 5, Michigan Tech 3 ... Lake Superior State 1, Ferris State 1 (Lakers win in shootout) ... Alaska at Alaska Anchorage (late)
WCHA playoff matchups (high seeds host best-of-three series): 1-Bemidji State vs. 8-Northern Michigan ... 2-Michigan Tech vs. 7-Lake Superior State ... 3-Minnesota State vs. 6-Alaska ... 4-Bowling Green vs. 5-Ferris State ... Alabama Huntsville and Alaska Anchorage are out