The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker

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
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
Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Farrell on Pineda: 'When it's that obvious, something has to be said' Wrigley Field celebrates 100th birthday Phelps returns to the pool Tour Confidential: What Impact Will Tiger's Absence Have on Golf? Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Marcus Spears: Cowboys Needs on Draft Day Could Bridgewater Make Scouts Look Foolish? NFL Draft: Will Manziel Be Off The Board By Pick No. 4? Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes Race to avoid Premier League relegation heats up The many faces of Mike Woodson Draft Preview: Ego Ferguson Chelsea, Atletico set to do battle in Champions League With The Twelfth Pick, The New York Giants Select... Rosenthal: Trout's contract was a compromise Trail Blazers battle back, overcome Rockets in OT