The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

February 10, 2014

Mavs show killer instinct against Beavers

Team now ranked second nationwide in power play; penalty-kill is fifth

(Continued)

At 87.2 percent, Minnesota State’s penalty kill is the fifth-best in the country.

It’s power play, which is clicking at 25 percent after a 4-for-10 performance against the Beavers, is tied for second in the nation.

Fourth line’s a charm

The Mavericks’ fourth line of Knowles, Michael Huntebrinker and Max Gaede provided a real spark throughout the series, both together and in spot duty on other lines.

Huntebrinker, who scored a the go-ahead goal on Friday, even moved up to the No. 1 line briefly Saturday when Leitner needed a breather.

“Matty had played a lot of minutes, and I skipped him,” Hastings said. “I put Huntebrinker between (Zach Lehrke) and (Gervais). Hunty goes out and wins a faceoff, and he’s part of the game winner.”

Huntebrinker, who scored his first college goal on Friday, was in the lineup since fellow freshman Jordan Nelson remained out with an upper-body injury.

Gaede drew heavy praise from his coach as well.

“I have all the confidence in the world putting Gaede out there,” Hastings said. “Early in the year he had some trouble getting pucks out. But Max Gaede, every single day goes out and works at getting pucks off walls and getting pucks out.”

Knowles might have had his most complete weekend since last season.

“Absolutely,” Hastings said. “He’s a little healthier. I thought he played a real intelligent game Friday and Saturday. I think his confidence is starting to come.”

Up the charts

With four points in the series, Leitner moved up to seventh place on Minnesota State’s Division I-era scoring list.

Leitner, who is on an eight-game scoring streak with 16 points over that stretch, now has 109 points. He passed Tim Wolfe (1996-2000) and Jesse Rooney (1998-01) and is now four points behind B.J. Abel (1999-2003).

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