By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
Overshadowed by the performances of Eriah Hayes, Teddy Blueger and Matt Leitner during the Minnesota State men’s hockey team’s weekend sweep at Minnesota Duluth might have been the play of junior forward Zach Lehrke.
Lehrke scored a big goal in each game, just days after it appeared he might be the odd man out of the lineup, based on the line combinations in practice.
Coach Mike Hastings’ decision to play him on the fourth line paid off, as Lehrke started MSU’s three-goal third-period rally on Friday and scored the first goal of the game on Saturday, a nifty breakaway.
“I think he challenged himself tonight,” Hastings said after Friday’s game. “He had an impact on the game. He played with an edge.”
Lehrke also assisted on a goal Saturday for a three-point weekend. He now has six goals and 14 assists, and his 20 points rank fourth on the team in scoring.
Freshman winger Dylan Margonari, started the season hot, with five goals in his first 15 games. But he cooled off after that.
Friday, Margonari scored the game’s first goal, his first in 11 games. He now has six goals and seven assists.
As for the other rookies, Blueger had a four-point series and leads the rookie class with 17 points. Bryce Gervais had two assists. Jon Jutzi and Brett Knowles each had an assist, and defenseman Nick Buchanan picked up his first career point with an assist on Saturday.
Meanwhile, goaltender Stephon Williams continued his stellar play, getting his 14th and 15th wins of the season by stopping 60 of 63 shots (95.2 percent).
Hayes’ hat trick Saturday night was the second of his college career, and Hastings mentioned that he witnessed both of them.
Hayes’ first three-goal game came last season in a 5-4 overtime win over Nebraska Omaha in Mankato. Hastings was on the opposing bench as Omaha’s associate head coach.
Hayes, who had four goals and three assists in the series, now has 88 career points and has moved up to 13th on MSU’s Division I era scoring list. He’s tied with T.J. Guidarelli (1997-2001).
Over the weekend, Hayes passed Ben Christopherson (1998-2001), Geoff Irwin (2006-10) and Mick Berge (2005-09) on the all-time list.
More TV time
Minnesota State had a little better luck with the video replay than in previous weekends against Minnesota and Wisconsin. Two of MSU’s goals on Friday went to video review and were confirmed as goals. On Saturday, an Evan Mosey dump-in from center ice slipped by goalie Aaron Crandall for an apparent goal, but referees took a look and said that the Mavericks were offsides on the goal and waved it off.
The Mavericks will host Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center. The Huskies split a home series with Alaska Anchorage over the weekend, falling 5-4 and winning 6-1.
Freep stars of the series
1. Eriah Hayes, F, MSU: Dominant performance with seven points.
2. Teddy Blueger, F, MSU: Freshman no longer playing like a rookie.
3. Matt Leitner, F, MSU: Playmaker was praised for his defensive play.