Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mavs earn sweep over Bemidji

The Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s hockey team earned their second sweep of the season this past weekend with two wins over the visiting Bemidji State University Beavers in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.

The Beavers (3-5-0) seemed poised for a road victory on Friday night, but playing at home, the Mavs (7-3-0) earned a hard fought victory.

Junior Dylan Margonari got things started for MSU just under two minutes into the first period when he took a Bryce Gervais pass and beat the BSU defenders with speed before slipping the puck between Beaver goaltender Michael Bitzers legs for a 1-0 lead. Then Teddy Blueger increased the lead with a shorthand goal where he buried the puck into a nearly wide open net on a perfect feed from Gervais.

BSU would get a power play goal from Matt Prapavessis when he was left alone in the slot and fired a high shot over the shoulder of MSU goaltender Cole Huggins to cut the lead in half.

Then in the second period, it was all Beavers.

Just 26 seconds into the second, John Parker fired a seeing-eye shot into the top corner of the net to tie the game, then Cory Ward buried a goal late in the period to take a 3-2 lead. After the period, MSU Head Coach Mike Hastings pulled Huggins, and junior goaltender Stephon Williams would play the third.

In the third period, the Mavs showed just how dangerous their offense can be. Gervais netted a pair of power play goals sandwiched around Brett Stern’s first goal of the season, then senior Matt Leitner tallied his first of the year on a late empty net goal. The four goal third period gave the Mavericks a 6-3 win on Friday night heading into Saturday’s contest.

On Saturday it was again the Mavs who would strike first when freshman Brad McClure scored his fourth goal of the season on a brilliant play by Margonari. Taking an offensive zone faceoff, Margonari pushed the puck around the BSU centerman and slid the puck to a wide open McClure, who had a wide open net to deposit the puck into.

The Mavericks kept rolling through the first period with a pair of power play goals scored 59 second apart off the stick of Blueger. Nearly identical goals, Blueger manned the power play from the blue line, firing two wrist shots past a screened Andrew Walsh into the Beaver net.

Teddy Blueger netted his first career hat-trick Saturday night
Bemidji would get on the board before the period was over, though. Phil Brewer knocked in a loose puck into the MSU net with just two seconds left in the period net Williams made the initial two saves on the play.

In the second period, BSU would make things interesting when Graeme McCormack tallied a power play goal late in the period, but the Mavericks answered back in dramatic fashion.

Just over a minute after McCormack’s goal, Blueger completed his first career hat-trick, scoring his third goal of the night on a rebound from a C.J. Franklin shot.

The third period ended similarly to Friday night’s game, with Leitner scoring an empty net goal, this time while shorthanded. But before the game was all said and done, BSU tallied one last goal with ten seconds remaining in the game from Nate Arentz to leave the game at 5-3 in favor of MSU.

With the sweep, the Mavericks move to 5-1-0 in WCHA play which is good for second in the league behind undefeated Michigan Tech, who the Mavs play next on the road. After having this weekend off from games, MSU will head to Houghton, Mich. next weekend to play the Huskies in what should be a battle of the top two teams in the WCHA.

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