The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

February 3, 2014

Mavs happy to be home after long road swing

Sophomore Gervais starting to come on

MARQUETTE, MICH. — Since the first weekend in December, the Minnesota State men’s hockey team has played just two games in Mankato.

Over that time, the Mavericks played 10 games on the road, including this past weekend’s WCHA series at Northern Michigan, which resulted in a series split.

Starting Friday and Saturday against Bemidji State, the Mavericks will play three of their final four series at the Verizon Wireless Center where they are 9-1-0.

Saturday’s win over Northern Michigan gave MSU a 4-6 road record over that stretch, including a 2-6 mark in the new year. Overall, the Mavericks are 6-12-0 away from Mankato.

“It’s been a long two months,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said on Saturday. “Other than the Ferris (State) weekend … We’ve had two (home) games since Dec. 6-7. Now we’re going to go back, and it’s Feb. 7-8. It’s been a long road, and I know it isn’t perfect. I just thought tonight was a really important game.”

The Mavericks’ win on Saturday broke a three-game losing streak.

“It was an opportunity for the guys to look in the mirror a little bit,” Hastings said, “and I liked what I saw tonight.”

Gervais gets going

Sophomore forward Bryce Gervais made a big impact on Saturday’s game, scoring a short-handed goal and playing well all around on the penalty kill.

Hastings said Gervais has shown great improvement in recent weeks.

“I think he’s starting to really hit his stride,” the coach said. “You’ve seen his numbers start to come up. I feel real comfortable playing him on our first unit. He’s getting some power-play time/ I think his confidence is increasing weekly.”

Gervais has seven goals and four assists this season. The short-handed goal was the second of his career.

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