The Free Press, Mankato, MN


December 3, 2013

After slow start, Mavs' offense finally awakens

Seven goals. Five for six on the power play.

“I’d like to have more nights like that,” Minnesota State men’s hockey coach Mike Hastings said after Saturday’s victory over Alaska Anchorage.

The Mavericks’ offensive explosion and series sweep over the Seawolves was what a lot of fans had been had expected — and what a lot of opponents had feared — out of that team since early October.

Minnesota State stumbled out of the gate offensively despite their returning talent and depth up front. Six times in their first 10 games, including one win, they were held to one or no goals. Their power play had a success rate of just 9 percent, and the four goals scored with the man advantage in that span were just one more than the number of short-handed goals MSU had allowed.

Just four games later, the power play is up 10 percent, and after scoring 19 goals in their first 10 games, the Mavericks added 16 in their last four.

Asked after Saturday’s game what the difference is, senior captain Johnny McInnis said simply: “Lehrke.”

As in Zach Lehrke. Lehrke, the senior who quit hockey just before the season started only to return after the first 10 games, has been a big catalyst. He had four points against the Seawolves and three in the previous series at Bowling Green. His five assists have all come on the power play where he’s been a calming, patient presence.

No one has benefited more from Lehrke’s return than Jean-Paul LaFontaine, who has five power-play goals in the last four games, but the scoring became contagious on Saturday night.

Matt Leitner, the WCHA’s preseason player of the year and the nation’s top power-play point producer last season, may be starting to heat up, too. He had three assists, all on the power play, on Saturday, and he has six of his nine points in the Mavericks’ last four games.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
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
Mike Tyson throws out first pitch at PNC Park Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Philadelphia Eagles Boomer: Chris Johnson signing will work for Jets NHL playoff preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - New England Patriots NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Washington Redskins NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - New Orleans Saints NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Dallas Cowboys NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Western Conference playoff preview Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Damian Lillard's Oakland upbringing Niners' legal troubles Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons