MADISON, WIS. — Minnesota State hadn’t won a WCHA at Wisconsin since the 2007-08 season, but that’s ancient history to the players who helped end that streak on Friday night at the Kohl Center.Freshmen Stephon Williams and Dylan Margonari and sophomore Matt Leitner sparked a much-needed 4-2 victory for the Mavericks against a downtrodden Badgers team.
The win ended a seven-game losing streak in Madison on a weekend that, because of the conference shakeup coming next summer, likely will be the Mavericks’ last one here for quite some time.
“It feels awesome, my first college win,” said Williams, MSU’s rookie goaltender, who stopped 32 of 34 shots. “The best part about it was that we got contributions from everyone tonight.”
Margonari and Leitner each set up the other for goals in the first period. Senior captain Eriah Hayes’ power-play goal at 5:48 of the third period ended up as the game-winner, while another senior, Eli Zuck, sealed the win with a last-minute empty-netter
The victory was just the second in conference play for the Mavericks (4-5-2, 2-5-0 in WCHA), while the beat-up Badgers remain stuck at one win overall. Two weeks after getting swept at home by No. 2-ranked Denver, Minnesota State needed to take advantage of the beat-up Badgers and a quiet Thanksgiving weekend home crowd, generously announced at 9,118 fans.
“You can only say so often that, hey, we’re getting better,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said. “The end result is what you’re looking for. I think it was a big win for us for a couple reasons.”
The Mavericks scored on the game’s first shot at 2:11 of the first period, as Margonari aimed at the far post and fired in a Leitner pass over goalie Landon Peterson’s stick-side shoulder while skating in from the right circle.