By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
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.
“Gaede beat him 5-hole and it kind of bounced back,” Hayes said. “I was going to the net and stopped. I just got a lucky one off the boot.”
Duluth’s best opportunity came during a power play midway through the period when it was still a one-goal game. But rookie goalie Stephon Williams continued his strong play in goal with two impressive stops. He finished the game with 26 saves.
“That was a big penalty kill,” Hastings said. “It’s in their building, and I think their power play is as good as there is in the league.”
Minnesota State scored the game’s first goal at 4:29 of the first period. Freshman Dylan Margonari fired in a Hayes goal-line pass that deflected off McNeely’s pad.
Duluth tied the game at 12:37 when Austin Farley converted following a Zach Palmquist turnover deep in the Mavericks’ end. The Bulldogs took the lead on leading scorer Mike Seidel’s 13th goal of the season at 7:31 of the second period
The Mavericks (17-9-3, 11-9-1 in WCHA) and the Bulldogs will conclude the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
Minnesota State 1-0-3—4
Minnesota Duluth 1-1-0—2
Scoring: 1. MSU-Margonari 6 (Hayes 10, Blueger 11) 4:29; 2. UMD-Farley 10 (Smith 4) 12:37
Penalties: Gaede, MSU (roughing) 5:51; Sampair, UMD (elbowing) 8:52; Leitner, MSU (tripping) 16:29; Danberg, UMD (tripping) 18:52
Scoring: 3. UMD-Seidel 13 (Welinski 10, Farley 10) 7:31
Penalties: Hayes, MSU (tripping) 8:57; Welinski, UMD (interference) 9:59
Scoring: 4. MSU-Lehrke 5 (Jutzi 5) 3:32; 5. MSU-Blueger 4 (Hayes 11, Knowles 7) 8:57; 6. MSU-Hayes 13 (Gaede 7, Blueger 12) 16:23
Penalties: Lehrke, MSU (kneeing) 10:54; Hayes, MSU (roughing) 13:51; Casto, UMD (roughing) 13:51; Seidel, UMD (holding the stick) 17:30; Grant, MSU (roughing) 19:06; Olson, UMD (roughing) 19:06
Shots on goal: MSU 9-10-22—41. UMD 8-13-7—27. Penalties: MSU 6 for 12 minutes; UMD 6 for 12 minutes. Power-play opportunities. MSU 0 for 4; UMD 0 for 4. Goalie saves: MSU Williams 7-12-7—26 (2 GA); UMD McNeely 8-10-19—37 (4 GA)
Referees: Scott Bokal, Timm Walsh. Linesmen: Sterling Egan, Brandon Polich.