The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

October 27, 2012

Penalties doom Mavericks in loss to St. Cloud State

ST. CLOUD — Changing the culture of the Minnesota State men’s hockey team is no easy task, coach Mike Hastings found out over the weekend.

The Mavericks were the most penalized team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association last season, surely a big reason why they finished 11th in the standings and a big reason why Hastings is now running the show.

On Saturday at the National Hockey Center, Minnesota State was penalized 11 times for 33 minutes, and a crucial call just 10 seconds into the third period tilted a close game toward what would end up as a 5-1 St. Cloud State win and conference series sweep.

“That’s the Mavericks of old,” Hastings said.

For two periods, the Mavericks showed the jump and feistiness they lacked in Friday’s series opener — also a 5-1 Huskies win — and they trailed 1-0 going into the third.

But a Chase Grant cross-checking penalty just 10 seconds into final period led to a quick St. Cloud State power play goal, and the Mavericks unraveled from there.

“It’s the same old story,” Hastings said. “Those are things we’ve tried to discuss. I don’t know if the message is being delivered.”

Nic Dowd score the power play goal at the 27-second mark, and 38 seconds after that Drew Le Blanc raced past three MSU defenders and flipped the puck through rookie goalie Stephon Williams’ wide-open shin pads. Hastings pulled Williams (18 saves) after that and replaced him senior Phil Cook.

The Huskies added two more power-play goals in the game’s final 5 ½ minutes and were up 5-0 before senior defenseman Evan Mosey finally put the Mavericks on the board with 52 seconds to play.

Mosey also scored MSU’s lone goal on Friday.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Mosey said. “It’s so late in the game. Last night we were down 4-0; today it was 5-zip. It’s too late to get everybody going. I thought we played a pretty good first and second (period). We got a lot more chances (than Friday). But you have to get pucks to the net and finish.”

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