The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

October 19, 2013

Mavericks finish off UConn with HALF NELSON

Josh Nelson's kid brother has two points in 6-1 win

In his first couple of weeks of college hockey, Casey Nelson has had an extra mentor helping him along: his big brother and Minnesota State senior and alternate captain Josh Nelson.

β€œI've learned a lot from him since I've been here," the freshman defenseman said.

On Saturday night, Josh was an injury scratch, and Casey got a chance to show off some of the things his brother taught him.

Before Verizon Wireless Center crowd of 3,911, the younger Nelson scored a goal and assisted on another for his first college points, and MSU defeated Connecticut 6-1 to finish off the nonconference series sweep.

β€œIt was weird without him out there,” Casey said of Josh, who was out with a lower-body injury. "But the team played great β€” in all three zones."

Casey assisted on Jean-Paul LaFontaine's goal that opened the scoring at 6:17 of the first period, and he fired in a shot from the blue line that gave MSU a 4-1 lead at 1:54 of the third.

"I think (Casey Nelson's) a real bright hockey player," Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. "He can think the game. You know, he's been thrown into the deep end with ankle weights. He runs one of our power plays, he's playing top-four minutes, and he's asked to kill penalties. He's handled it real well."

Bryce Gervais also had a goal and an assist, and Matt Leitner finished with two assists. Dylan Margonari, Chase Grant and freshman Jordan Nelson also scored goals.

The Mavericks outshot the Huskies 48-17, giving goalie Stephon Williams a rather comfortable night in goal. He allowed just a single power-play goal in the first period.

"Everybody contributed tonight," Hastings said.

The Mavericks scored three goals in their first three games of the season and matched that in the first period of their fourth.

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