The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

December 7, 2012

Mavericks run win streak to five

MANKATO — When Alaska Anchorage scored the first goal less than 2 minutes into Friday’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association game, all 3,041 people in the Verizon Wireless Center must have been a little curious to see how Minnesota State was going to respond.In each victory over their four-game winning streak going into the weekend, the Mavericks had jumped out to an early lead.

Turned out, the Seawolves’ goal was just a bump in the road, and MSU won 3-1 to extend their streak to five.

“They got on the board first, but it was good to see our team stay level-headed,” said freshman forward Brett Knowles, who scored his first collegiate goal in the win.

Despite the 40-21 shot advantage, it wasn’t an easy win for the Mavericks (8-5-2, 6-5-0 in WCHA). They had to score three greasy goals against sharp goalie Chris Kamal and grind out their two-goal lead over a scoreless third period.

Rookie goalie Stephon Williams stopped 20 shots, including nine in the final frame, for his fifth straight win.

“We’ll take them any way we can get them,” coach Mike Hastings said.

Eriah Hayes, and Johnny McInnis scored the other MSU goals.

Hayes, who finished with a two-point game, deflected in defenseman Zach Palmquist’s power-play shot, tying the game just 70 seconds after Matt Bailey gave Anchorage the early lead.

“I like the way we reacted,” Hastings said.

With 4:36 remaining in the first period, McInnis got his stick on the ice and pushed back defenseman Brett Stern’s shot for what would end up being the game-winning goal.

“We’re getting into a rhythm where we expect no less than our best,” McInnis said. “The goal still for this team is to be better.”

At 4:42 of the second period, Knowles made it 3-1, knocking in a rebound. Defenseman Josh Nelson fired the shot, and Hayes deflected it down to the ice, and the rookie wing was there to finish off the play.

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