Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mavericks open home schedule with sweep over UConn

The Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s hockey team redeemed themselves over the last weekend when they returned home to face off against Connecticut. The Mavericks opened their season at Providence, going 0-2 in the series while being outscored 8-1. While disappointed with the series, the Mavs looked ahead and took care of business against the University of Connecticut, winning both Friday and Saturday night to complete the two game sweep.

Friday night saw the Maverick power  play finally get on the board when sophomore forward Teddy Blueger jammed home a goal from in close to put the Mavericks up 1-0 with the man advantage. Senior forward Johnny McInnis and junior forward Matt Leitner received assists on the goal. That would be the only scoring of the first period, and it sent the Mavs to the locker room with the lead going into the middle period.

The second period included the eventual game winning goal from sophomore forward Dylan Margonari at the 6:02 mark of the period. Margonari redirected a shot from senior defenseman Josh Nelson past UConn goalie Matt Grogan. McInnis was also credited with an assist on the play, his second of the night. Connecticut’s Jordan Sims recorded the only third period tally to bring the score to 2-1 in favor of the Mavericks.

Mavs sophomore goalie Stephon Williams made 16 saves on 17 shots and received the win. Saturday night featured a much more exciting game.

The Mavs were dominant on Saturday, cruising to a 6-1 victory over the Huskies. Junior forward Jean-Paul LaFontaine struck first when he found the back of the net on an assist from freshman defenseman Casey Nelson. Sophomore forward Bryce Gervais extended the lead to two with his second goal of the season, which turned out to be the game-winning goal.

UConn would answer back with Jordan Sims scoring a power-play goal for the Huskies to bring the score within one. Margonari scored his second goal of the weekend with 14 seconds remaining in the period to give the Mavs a 3-1 lead after a period of play.

The second period saw no scoring, but the third period was a dominating frame for MSU. Freshman defenseman Casey Nelson scored his first goal as a Maverick early in the third period to cushion the lead to 4-1 with assists from Gervais and freshman forward Jordan Nelson.

Later in the third, Leitner recorded his second assist of the night, assisting on junior forward Chase Grant’s first tally of the year to give the Mavs another insurance marker and a 5-1 lead. With 45 seconds remaining in the game, Jordan Nelson recorded his second point of the night and first career goal when he buried a power play goal past Grogan. Sean Flanagan and Max Gaede recorded the assists on the goal, which completed the scoring of the game for a 6-1 Mavericks win. Williams performed well, again recording 16 saves on 17 shots for the win in front of a Maverick crowd of 3,911.

MSU men’s hockey is off next weekend, giving them time to continue finetuning their game for their opening WCHA series at Bemidji on Nov. 1.

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