The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 17, 2014

Mavs' Gervais steps up game at right time

MANKATO — It wasn’t all that long ago that sophomore forward Bryce Gervais appeared to be providing the Minnesota State men’s hockey team with some solid secondary scoring.

It’s fair to say he’s part of the primary group now.

After a five-point weekend that included the game-tying and another third-period goal in Saturday’s overtime playoff victory over Northern Michigan, Gervais has 10 goals and 15 points in MSU’s last 12 games.

Minnesota State is unbeaten in the last 11 of those games and will now play in the WCHA Final Five, which begins Friday at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“I think it’s just mental preparation,” Gervais said. “But sometimes you’ve got to get lucky. The puck has found my stick.”

Gervais now has 15 goals, which ranks third behind 20 each by Johnny McInnis and Jean-Paul LaFontaine. His 23 points rank fourth. He had eight goals and 13 points as a freshman.

“With Gervais, it’s his want-to and his desire to get the puck and go to the net,” coach Mike Hastings said.

Gervais’ first goal on Saturday tied the game at 3-3. It was the rebound of a Matt Leitner chance during a 3-on-2 rush with Chase Grant also involved. His second goal tied the game at 4-4 with 4:23 left in regulation. It was a power-play goal that he backhanded behind goalie Mathias Dahlstrom.

“I think it brought us close as a team,” Gervais said. “It showed a lot of character to keep battling back and force overtime.”

Up next

Minnesota State will play Bowling Green in the WCHA semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday. The 6 p.m. semifinal will pit regular-season champion Ferris State against Alaska Anchorage.

Anchorage’s upset of third-place Alaska late Saturday night to win that series 2-1 set up the semifinal matchups. Both games will be televised on Fox Sports North.

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