DULUTH — Ryan Sandelin admits that he caught himself looking over at his dad a couple of times during Friday night’s game between Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth at Amsoil Arena.
“I caught myself looking over and thinking about what he might be thinking,” Sandelin said of Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin after the 4-1 victory.
For the most part, though, the Mavericks freshman was into the game. He assisted on a big goal — Josh French’s that made it 3-0 at 14:13 of the second period.
“It was different,” Ryan said about returning to the Duluth area to play as a visitor and take on his dad’s team for the first time. “But it was a good experience. I’m glad we got the win. It was a tough start, but we found a way to play together the last 40 minutes. I hope that carries over to tomorrow.”
It did, and the son’s Mavericks got the best of the father’s Bulldogs again with a 3-1 victory on Saturday.
Sandelin’s assist Friday came on a shot on goal from the left circle. The rebound went to French, who put it back for his first goal of the season.
“I thought Ryan did a really good job of putting the puck in an area where it’s tough for a goaltender,” coach Mike Hastings said. “He makes the save, but Frenchie’s there on the back side.”
Freshman Lucas Sowder was named WCHA rookie of the month for October after racking up nine points in his first six games.
He cooled off in November, however, and was even scratched from the lineup three times, including Friday’s opener at UMD.
On Saturday, Sowder looked like his old self, scoring a goal and assisting on another.
“Smart hockey player,” Hastings said. “He’s had a couple freshman moments so far this year, but other than that, he’s been real consistent. “And he loves playing the game. He has a passion for it. He’s really a heady player.”
Sowder now has 12 points in 11 games. His fellow Floridian, rookie Nathan Smith, had a goal on Friday and two assists on Saturday and has 13 points in 12 games.
Minnesota State was the first nonconference team to sweep Minnesota Duluth in Duluth since Oct. 7-8, 2005, when Bemidji State did it.
However, the Mavericks did sweep at Duluth on Feb. 8-9, 2013 when both teams were members of the WCHA. The next season, UMD went off to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The Mavericks will return to WCHA play and host Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday at the Mankato Civic Center.
The Lakers (5-12-1, 3-6-1 in WCHA), the only team to win in Mankato last season, will be coming off a two-point home weekend against Bemidji State, losing 4-1 on Friday and tying 2-2 and winning the 3-on-3 overtime on Saturday.
Around the WCHA
Elsewhere in the WCHA, Bowling Green, like Minnesota State, had a big nonconference sweep, defeating No. 5 Notre Dame 5-2 and 5-2 in a home-and-home series.
Alabama Huntsville won its first game of the season Friday defeating visiting Northern Michigan 4-2. The Wildcats bounced back to beat the Chargers 3-1 on Saturday.
Alaska and Michigan Tech split at Fairbanks, Alaska, with the Nanooks winning 4-3 and the Huskies winning 2-1.
Ferris State took four points at Alaska Anchorage, winning 4-1 on Friday and tying 4-4 on Saturday, with the Seawolves winning the shootout in the latter game.
Goaltender Dryden McKay, who allowed two goals on 66 shots in the series, has a .972 save percentage over the Mavericks’ seven-game winning streak. ... Since returning from a bout with mono last week, Jake Jaremko has three goals and two assists in four games. ... Marc Michaelis extended his point streak to seven games with a goal and an assist on Friday but had it snapped on Saturday. ... Minnesota State finished 5 for 10 on the power play during the series. Minnesota Duluth was 2 for 8.
Follow Shane Frederick on Twitter @puckato.