The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 17, 2013

MSU hockey team returns to WCHA Final Five

MANKATO — For 10 years, the Minnesota State men’s hockey team has missed out on the WCHA Final Five.

The way it started off the third and decisive game of a first-round conference playoff series on Sunday night, there was no way it was going to miss out on another of the league’s big parties in St. Paul.

“I’ve waited four years for it,” senior defenseman Tyler Ebrecht said. “We’ve put the work in, and it finally paid off.”

Minnesota State dominated the first period and went on to defeat Nebraska Omaha 3-1 before a Verizon Wireless Crowd of just 2,405. The win gave MSU a berth into the Final Five for the first time since 2003.

The Mavericks (24-12-3) will play Wisconsin at 2:07 p.m. Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.

“It means a lot for the school and the community,” said sophomore center Matt Leitner, who had a third-period goal and an assist. “We might not realize it right now, but it’s big.”

Minnesota State got off to a great start, outshooting Omaha 12-3 in the first period and getting goals from Bryce Gervais and Max Gaede.

“That’s probably the best 20 minutes we’ve had in a good month,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said. “I thought we came out with energy and thought we were committed to what we needed to do.”

And if not for a couple of huge saves by UNO’s John Faulkner (32 saves) on Eriah Hayes, it could have been 4-0.

Gervais started the scoring at 8:23. The winger was moved up to the first line on Saturday and connected on a perfect pass from Chase Grant. Gervais crashed down the middle of the rink as Grant put the puck out front from the wall behind the net.

Gaede made it 2-0 a little more than five minutes later with his first goal of the season. The snakebit sophomore took a pass from freshman Taylor Herndon and made a nifty move going to the net before he backhanded the puck behind Faulkner.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Goodell backs Rice ban Andre Reed reflects on Hall of Fame Man with no arms throws first pitch Wade supports LeBron's decision Dombrowski on bringing David Price to Detroit How the MLB Trade Deadline Will Affect the Postseason Steelers feeling a sense of urgency in camp Reaction to Ray Rice's comments Marshawn Lynch Ends Holdout - @TheBuzzeronFOX 5 things I think I think about the Atlanta Falcons Paul Breitner: We're sure Julian Green will be a great player for Bayern Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Morosi: Tigers pick up Price from Rays Rice intends to become advocate of domestic violence with wife Janay when time is right Ray Rice issues apology for his part in a domestic violence incident A's Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes Price on dealing with trade rumors Arian Foster Answers Questions With Same Boring Answer - @TheBuzzeronFox Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Cardinals make Peterson highest paid CB