DULUTH — If you’re looking for something to illustrate the new fortunes of the Minnesota State men’s hockey team this season, perhaps Friday night’s victory over Minnesota Duluth drew it up perfectly.The 11th-ranked Mavericks scored three goals in the third period to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association game 4-2 before a crowd of 6,120 at Amsoil Arena.
It was MSU’s first win in Duluth since Jan. 28, 2006 and just the second victory over UMD in the last 17 games.
“We knew they’d be tough,” Mavericks captain Eriah Hayes said of the Bulldogs. “And we knew our line had to be good.”
Indeed, Hayes’ line was brilliant, with the senior scoring a goal and assisting on two others. His center, freshman Teddy Blueger, did the same.
“You need your best players to be your best players,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said.
On the game-winning goal, Hayes drove hard to the net around a defenseman and got the puck on goal. Blueger followed up, roofing the puck over goalie Matt McNeely at 8:57 of the third period. The play started in the neutral zone with a pretty cross-ice feed to Hayes from freshman Brett Knowles.
The Mavericks trailed 2-1 after two periods and dominated the third, outshooting the Bulldogs 22-7 for a 41-28 advantage overall.
“All we talked about (between periods) was that (the Bulldogs) were going to bring it again,” Hayes said. “They’re a tough team, and they’re not going to give up. We had to come out and be good the first five minutes of the third. If we could do that, it was going to be a good period.”
Zach Lehrke tied the game at 3:32 with a quick shot on a loose puck that slipped between the goalie’s legs. Hayes scored the Mavericks’ final goal with 3:37 remaining in the game when a Max Gaede shot got through McNeely and went in off Hayes’ skates.