The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 18, 2013

Mavericks may look back on Gopher series later on

MINNEAPOLIS — If the Minnesota State men's hockey team finds a way to play deep into March, it might look back at its series against No. 1-ranked Minnesota as a reminder of how tightly games will be played.

"That was a playoff-style first period," Hastings said on Saturday. "I didn't think either team gave the other a lot of opportunities."

Minnesota outshot Minnesota State 7-6 and led 1-0 after the opening period of that game, and it was a back-and-forth battle after that until the Gophers broke the game open with a pair of late goals for the 3-0 win. The teams combined for 27 shots without a goal in the second period.

The Mavericks appear to have the goaltending to make a run. Now if they could just get their stagnant offense going ...

Freshman goaltender Cole Huggins started his second- and third-straight games over the weekend and his fourth in five games. He stopped 26 of 29 shots in Friday's 4-1 loss and 33 of 36 shots on Saturday.

“Cole did a good job again,” Hastings said.

Huggins is now 2-2 with a .939 save percentage and a 1.93 goals-against average to start his college career. Sophomore Stephon Williams did not play against the Gophers.,

As for giving Huggins some goal support, Mavericks captain Johnny McInnis said, “We'll have to work on scoring in practice and build momentum that way.”

Brotherly love

Mike Reilly and Connor Reilly each had a goal for the Gophers on Friday, becoming the first brothers to score goals in the same game for Minnesota since Ryan Potulny and Grant Potulny did it in a game in 2004.

Grant Potulny is now an assistant coach for the Gophers.

The Mavericks were hoping to have a similar situation this season, but senior Josh Nelson's lower-body injury has kept him out for all but the first three games of the season. He remains out indefinitely. His brother, freshman Casey Nelson, has played in every MSU game thus far.

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