And then there was goaltender Stephon Williams, who stopped 37 of 38 shots for his 17th victory.
“I thought Stephon did a great job of allowing us to maintain our lead,” Hastings said. “I thought he was exceptional tonight.”
Williams held off an early charge by the Huskies. Protecting a 1-0 lead late in the first period, he had to use the back of his glove while falling backward to swat away a golden opportunity by David Johnstone.
“That was a desperation play,” Williams said. “I was fortunate. Technique goes out the window. The guy made a great move, and at that point, I was going to do anything to stop the puck.”
Williams had some luck on his side, too, when the Huskies’ best player, Blake Pietila beat him high on the blocker side but the post on a penalty shot early in the second period.
“That was a big point in the game,” he said. “If he would have scored there, it would have changed the momentum. I lucked out and gave the post a little kiss afterward.”
The Mavericks buried the Huskies after that with three goals over the final 10 ½ minutes of the second period to take a 4-0 lead into the third.
Lehrke scored short-handed off a perfect 2-on-1 pass from Knowles at 9:33. With 3:02 remaining. Hayes’ power-play goal from Leitner came at 16:58, and Leitner roofed one of his own with 56.3 seconds remaining in the frame.
Michigan Tech pulled goalie Pheonix Copley (19 saves) after that and replaced him with Jamie Phillips, who allowed two goals on five shots.
The win moved MSU into seventh place in the Pairwise rankings, which determine the NCAA tournament field at the end of the season.
“We want to build the program into something special,” Williams said, “and I think we’re on the right track.”