MANKATO — MANKATO — The Minnesota State power play has been rolling pretty good of late. But with Bemidji State and its WCHA-best penalty kill in town, the Mavericks were going to need to find a way to score some even-strength goals.
Leave it to the seldom-used Michael Huntebrinker to score a big one.
The freshman from Chesterfield, Mo., and Waterloo of the United States Hockey League scored his first career goal at 2:30 of the second period, breaking a tie game and helping the Mavericks defeat the Beavers 5-2 Friday before a Verizon Wireless Center crowd of 3,526.
Huntebrinker was playing in just his eighth game this season. He missed most of the first half of the year with a broken wrist.
“When his bone was going to be fine, when he was going to be cleared, he made sure every other aspect of his physicality — his body, his conditioning — was at a point where he could contribute right away,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. “And tonight he was good.”
Huntebrinker finished the game with four shots on goal, centering an energy-charged fourth line with Brett Knowles and Max Gaede.
“I just tried to stay positive and tried to do whatever I could to improve my game in work hard,” he said of his injury time. “It was nice to get that (first goal) out of the way).”
Huntebrinker’s goal broke a 1-1 tie, and the Mavericks scored four times in the third period.
Gaede took a check as he got the puck to Knowles for a 2-on-1. Knowles made a stretch pass through a defender to Huntebrinker’s tape, and the rookie zipped it by goalie Andrew Walsh.
“If we can get some contributions from that line and get some depth in our scoring we’re going to be a much better team,” Hastings said.