By Shane Frederick
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.”
Credit has to go to Huskies goaltender Ryan Faragher, who stopped 34 shots. He made two key saves in the second period to maintain his 1-0 lead.
Midway through the period, he stopped a nice redirection play by Chase Grant, and with 1:50 remaining in the period, he showed off a quick glove and swiped an open backhander off a rush by J.P. Burkemper.
“(Faragher) made more than that,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said. “He made three or four. When he’s on, he makes them look easy.”
The game was scoreless after the first period despite several Grade A scoring chances for the Mavericks, and the Huskies’ Cory Thorson broke the stalemate at 2:44 of the second period.
“We’ve got to make our own mojo,” Hastings said. “We’ve got to make our own breaks. …
“I didn’t have a problem with the effort. In the first two periods, we got what we needed to get.”
The series sweep was St. Cloud State’s first over the Mavericks since the 2008-09 season. Saturday’s game was the final regular-season meeting between the two schools as WCHA foes. Next season, the Huskies will join the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
“It’s just frustrating,” Mosey said.
Up next for the Mavericks (2-2-2, 0-2-0 in WCHA) is No. 2 Minnesota, with Friday’s game in Minneapolis and Saturday’s game in Mankato.
Minnesota State 0-0-1—1
St. Cloud State 0-1-4—5
Penalties: Leitner, MSU (roughing, high-sticking) :38; Mosey, MSU (roughing) :38; Dowd, SCSU (roughing, high-sticking) :38; Holka, SCSU (roughing) :38; LaFontaine, MSU (cross-checking) 1:29; Bertsch, SCSU (tripping) 2:03; Prochno, SCSU (tripping) 7:30; Nelson, MSU (hooking) 10:00.
Scoring: 1. Thorson 1 (Rabey 1, Prow 3) 2:44
Penalties: Palmquist, MSU (slashing) 4:19; Holka, SCSU (cross-checking) 10:44
Scoring: 2. Dowd 4 (Thorson 3, Jensen 5) ppg :27; 3. SCSU-LeBlanc 3 (Kossila 4) 1:05; 4. SCSU-Thorson 2 (Dowd 6, Jensen 6) ppg 14:24; 5. SCSU-Kossila 3 (Murray 3, Johnson 1) shg 18:20; 6. MSU-Mosey 2 (Hayes 2, McInnis 2) shg 9:08
Penalties: Grant, MSU (cross-checking) :10; Holka, SCSU (tripping) 11:50; Gervais, MSU (holding, roughing) 14:05; Gravel, SCSU (roughing) 14:05; Leitner, MSU, major/game misconduct (checking from behind) 16:03
Shots on goal: MSU 6-11-19—36. SCSU 9-8-13—30. Penalties: MSU 6 for 12 minutes; SCSU 6 for 12 minutes. Power-play opportunities. MSU 0 of 4; SCSU 2 of 6. Goalie saves: MSU Williams 9-7-2—18, Cook x-x-4—4; SCSU Faragher 6-11-17—34.
Referees: Derek Shepherd, Marco Hunt. Linesemen: Nick Bradshaw, Sam Shikowsky.