MANKATO — For a team that struggled so mightily over the first half of the season, a string of series splits to start 2012 hasn’t seemed so bad for the Minnesota State men’s hockey team.
The Mavericks ended up with another split — their fifth in a row — after falling to Michigan Tech on Saturday before a crowd of 3,348 at Verizon Wireless Center.
But the 7-3 defeat might have left them with a sick feeling in their stomachs.
Going for their first Western Collegiate Hockey Association series sweep in 14 months, the Mavericks grabbed a quick 1-0 lead. But they melted down after that, and watched as the Huskies scored six first-period goals.
“They played good and we didn’t. Pretty simple,” Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said. “It’s really the only period I can look at, since Christmastime, where we did not play. And (Michigan Tech) did.”
Taking advantage of sloppy defensive play and four MSU penalties, three Huskies had three points in the opening period. Ryan Furne and Brett Olson each had two goals and an assist, and David Johnstone assisted on three goals.
“We didn’t get the goaltending we’ve been getting, we didn’t play defense the way you have to, we took some bad penalties,” Jutting said. “It was just a bad 20 minutes of hockey.”
Evan Mosey gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead just 1:50 into the game, and the Huskies tied it on Furne’s power-play goal at 4:36.
But the momentum hinged on a referee video review at 7:38.
Alex MacLeod’s goal was initially ruled no goal on the ice, as referee Brad Shepherd signaled that MacLeod put the puck into the net with his hand. But after a lengthy video review, Shepherd called it a goal and explained to Jutting that MacLeod got his stick on the puck before it crossed the line.