The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

February 15, 2014

LaFontaine leads Mavericks past Chargers

MSU blanks Huntsville for 2nd straight night

Twenty goals is a significant plateau in college hockey.

It’s a number only six players have reached so far this season, and Minnesota State’s Jean-Paul LaFontaine became one of them on Saturday night.

“It’s hard to do in college hockey. You know, it really its,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said after his team’s dominant 4-0 WCHA victory over Alabama Huntsville before a crowd of 3,987 at Verizon Wireless Center.

LaFontaine scored twice to hit the 20-goal mark and help the Mavericks win their fifth consecutive game and 11th straight at home.

The junior forward is the fourth MSU player to reach that milestone in the last decade. No Maverick has scored more than 20 since 2002-03 when All-Americans Shane Joseph and Grant Stevenson had 29 and 27 goals, respectively.

The Mavericks still have four games remaining in the regular season.

“To be honest, I’m just looking at 19-13,” LaFontaine said, citing Minnesota State's record, “and we hope to end up 23-13. That’s really all that matters.”

The victory, coupled with Ferris State’s 2-1 loss at Bemidji State on Saturday, put the Mavericks (19-13-0, 17-7-0 in WCHA) into a tie for first place in the conference. However, Ferris State has six games left in the regular season.

Against Huntsville, which has just one win and lost its 30th game Saturday, the ice was tilted in MSU’s favor the entire game.

The Mavericks outshot the Chargers 65-10, hitting the 60-shot mark for the first time since '02-03. And it would have been a blowout if not for the play of goalie Carmine Guerriero. His 61 saves were a Huntsville record.

“I thought we stayed on it for 60 minutes,” Hastings said. “The guys did a lot of right things tonight. … I liked the way the guys managed the entire 60 minutes. I thought we were able to distribute the minutes to everybody, and they weren’t irresponsible with those minutes.”

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