The Free Press, Mankato, MN


March 7, 2014

Three late goals keep MSU in title hunt

MANKATO — In hockey, games often tighten up in the playoffs. And in the WCHA, with its bunched-up standings this season, the playoffs started a week early.

Playing for a shot at its first league championship, Minnesota State found itself in a tight game with Michigan Tech on Friday night before a crowd of 3,484 at the Verizon Wireless Center.

The game was scoreless until the final 3:42 of the third period when the Mavericks scored three times in the 3-0 win.

“It was a playoff-type atmosphere, playoff-type-hockey,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. “I don’t think either team gave up a lot of scoring opportunities.”

On one of the few clean plays of the night, Dylan Margonari broke the stalemate, redirecting defenseman Brett Stern’s slap pass behind goalie Pheonix Copley.

“That was a tremendous pass,” said Margonari, who scored his eighth goal. “We work on stuff like that all the time, going low to high. I was just coming across from the back side and he found me.”

From there, Chase Grant and Bryce Gervais (empty-netter) added to the lead, and freshman goaltender Cole Huggins finished off a 26-save shutout.

It was the eighth straight victory for the Mavericks (22-13-0, 20-7-0 in WCHA), and they will go into tonight’s regular-season finale with a chance to win the MacNaughton Cup. Minnesota State is tied for first place with Ferris State, a 2-1 winner over Lake Superior State on Friday.

“Obviously, it’s pretty special,” Stern said. “The biggest thing is just playing our game.”

Michigan Tech, which was trying to clinch home ice for the league playoffs, took the Mavericks out of their game, bottling them up and keeping their high-octane power play scoreless on five chances. Copley finished with 29 saves, including 12 in the second period.

“Tech is one of the best teams in our league,” Hastings said, “and I thought that showed throughout the game.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
James Rodriguez Joins Real Madrid Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Morosi: Lee could be a tough sell Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits English Captain Steven Gerrard Retires From International Soccer - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th 105-year-old woman throws first pitch A Stormtrooper and Chewbacca invade D-backs game Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Boomer: Lovie, Bucs to surpirse in 2014 British Open Round 2 in 60 Seconds Gasol: Money wasn't the priority The British Open in 60 Seconds Who SI's Michael Bamberger is Picking to Win at Royal Liverpool — And Why