The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

October 6, 2013

Mavericks dominate exhibition hockey game

Blueger has four points, McInnis three in exhibition win

(Continued)

Lethbridge tied the game on a power play midway through the first period, but the Mavericks controlled play the majority of the night. The game was tied for a mere two minutes, and the Mavericks scored six unanswered goals after that — Matt Leitner (game-winner) and Blueger (power play) in the first period, freshmen Zach Stepan and Michael Huntebrinker in the second and McInnis and Nick Buchanan in the third.

Stepan also had an assist for a two-point game.

"It was nice to see some freshmen make an impact," Hastings said, noting the play of his fourth line of Huntebrinker, Jordan Nelson and sophomore Taylor Herndon. "They weren't shy."

Since it was an exhibition, there were no limits on the number of players who could dress for the game. Nine defensemen, instead of the usual six, played including rookies Carter Foguth, Casey Nelson and Sean Flanagan, as well as redshirt sophomore Mat Knoll, the Mavericks' most-improved player from 2011-12 who missed all of last season after undergoing eye surgery.

"It was positive," Hastings said of the defensive corps. "There wasn't somebody I looked at and said, 'OK, he's not ready.' And that's a good problem to have. ... It was something we didn't have at this time last year."

The goalies didn't see a lot of rubber. Starting goaltender Stephon Williams stopped 3 of 4 shots before his night ended midway through the second period. Evan Karambelas made three saves over the remainder of the middle frame. Freshman Cole Huggins stopped four shots in the third.

The games count next weekend, with the Mavericks, ranked 11th in the country, travel to Rhode Island to face No. 14 Providence.

Notes: The game's opening faceoff was delayed 15 minutes due to a problem with the lights following the national anthem. … Mavericks junior forward Chase Grant missed the game with an upper-body injury. ... Lethbridge junior Devon Kalinski is the brother of former MSU player Jon Kalinski. ... Lethbridge lost to Minnesota 5-1 on Saturday night.

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