Neither center Travis Morin nor goalie Dan Tormey could really say who gets the best of whom on the practice rink every day.

But the Minnesota State men’s hockey team’s two hottest players are certain about one thing:

They’re glad they’re on each other’s side come game day.

Morin scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and Tormey stopped 29 of 30 shots, as the Mavericks defeated Alaska-Anchorage 3-1 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game Friday before 3,469 at Midwest Wireless Civic Center.

“(Tormey’s) probably got my number,” said Morin, who has seven goals and six assists over an eight-game scoring streak. “But I think it’s better that way. I’d rather have him stopping pucks, and I’ll just sneak one past him once in awhile.”

The Seawolves certainly had trouble sneaking anything past Tormey Friday. He was 89 seconds away from a shutout when Anchorage pulled goalie John DeCaro and Chris Tarkir scored with an extra attacker on the ice to make it a 2-1 game.

Morin ensured the victory, however, with his empty-net goal with 23 seconds left.

“It was good for (Morin); he got two on the night,” Tormey said. “Empty-net goals may seem easy, but guys are battling hard down low to get the puck out. That’s really what seals the deal.”

The Mavericks (8-11-4, 4-8-3 in WCHA) have now won three games in a row and are 5-1-1 over their last seven. Friday’s win was only the second WCHA win in that stretch, but it put them two points ahead of the ninth-place Seawolves (4-12-1, 6-16-1) and three points out of fifth place in the standings.

“Oh yeah, I’m very happy,” coach Troy Jutting said. “I thought we played well. I thought we had opportunities to score more than two goals, but give (Alaska) credit; they played hard and they battled back.”

The Mavericks outshot the Seawolves 36-30 and it was the old storyline in the first period, as they had an 18-5 shot advantage but only a 1-0 lead.

DeCaro was outstanding, as Morin’s wrist shot from the high slot beat him over the shoulder at 16:10.

Joel Hanson gave the Mavericks a 2-0 lead with a shoving a backhanded shot between the goalie’s legs at 3:19 of the second period.

“(The Mavericks) carried play for two periods, easily,” Seawolves coach Dave Shyiak said. “It could easily have been 5-1 after two periods. DeCaro made some great stops.”

Meanwhile, Tormey was also heating up, too, stopping 10 shots in the second period and 13 in the third.

Tormey bumped his record above .500 with his seventh victory. He’s allowed just seven goals on 112 shots over the last four games.

“He made some saves that were huge for us, there’s no question about it,” Jutting said.

Shyiak opted to call time out and pull DeCaro with 2:08 left in the third period.

“We weren’t scoring goals with five guys on the ice, so we put six on,” he said.

Minnesota State’s leading scorer, David Backes, assisted on both of Morin’s goals, giving him the team lead with 17 helpers.

Junior defenseman Chad Brownlee assisted on the first goal for his first point of the season.

The Mavericks extended their unbeaten streak against the Seawolves to seven games (5-0-2). The two teams will conclude the season series at 7:07 p.m. tonight.

Alaska-Anchorage 0-0-1—1

Minnesota State 1-1-1—3


Scoring: 1. MSU-Morin 12 (Backes 16, Brownlee 1) 16:10

Penalties: Beaverson, UAA (slashing) 6:58; Beagle, UAA (roughing) 12:23; McKelvie, MSU (holding) 12:23; Anderson, UAA (cross-checking) 17:21


Scoring: 2. MSU-Hanson 3 (unassisted) 3:19

Penalties: Carter, MSU (interference) 6:51; Beaverson, UAA (cross-checking) 15:27; Kilburg, MSU (unsportsmanlike conduct) 17:36


Scoring: 3. UAA-Tarkir 5 (Parez 7, Hamilton 3) ex 18:31; 4. MSU-Morin 13 (Backes 17) ppg eng 18:37

Penalties: Backes, MSU (roughing) 13:44; Hamilton, UAA (roughing) 19:11; Parez, UAA (roughing) 19:11; Rankin, MSU (roughing) 19:11


Shots on goal: UAA 6-10-14—30; MSU 18-9-9—36. Penalties: UAA 6 for 12 minutes; MSU 5 for 10 minutes. Power-play opportunities UAA 0 for 3; MSU 1 for 4. Goalie saves: UAA-DeCaro 17-8-8—33, MSU-Tormey 6-10-13—29

UAA called its timeout at 17:52 of the third period.

Attendance: 3,469

Referee: Todd Anderson. Assistant referees: Tony Lancette, Jared Moen.

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