Sorry there wasn't a post-game blog last night. I had a few computer issues that appear to be resolved now. For those of you who haven't read the print account of last night's 2-1 Minnesota State loss to Denver, you can read it here today.
As they did last Friday against Minnesota, the Mavericks skated right with the fourth-ranked Pioneers. Defensive partners Brian Kilburg and Kurt Davis had an outstanding game. Kilburg played with a purpose after being scratched from the lineup last week, and the two got the puck out of the zone and up the ice. The pairing had four (two each) of the Mavericks' 29 shots on goal. Another defenseman, Ben Youds, had three shots on net.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, Denver goalie Peter Mannino was waiting at the other end of the ice.
"He looked like a big-timer out there tonight," Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said.
Kilburg began the rush that led to the Mavericks' lone goal, a short-handed tally by Trevor Bruess. Kilburg popped the puck high in the air out of the zone, and Bruess and Jon Kalinski were on the loose in the neutral zone. Kalinski, who has five shorties, took it in on a 2-on-0 breakaway. Mannino made the first save, but Bruess was right there to put back the rebound.
A two-goal flurry, including Brandon Vossberg's bad-angle goal, by Denver less than 90 seconds later, however, ended up being the difference in the game.
A few more notes/observations from last night:
It's funny how opposing coaches can have different views on the same play. Take Vossberg's goal for example. "You can't give that up. You just can't. Not at this level," Jutting said, of the 40-foot shot from the corner of the zone that went in off the back of Mike Zacharias' goalie pads. Denver's George Gwozdecky: "Smart players do that normally. Smart offensively players do that instinctively."
Gwozdecky on the Mavericks: "Their transition game gave us fits. They had five or six 3-on-2 attacks that caught us flat-footed. Theirs was pretty darn good, and ours was lackluster."
Kilburg on whether or not last week's benching inspired him: "It was a little bit of both. This was the third game we lost in a row where one period hurt us. A little of it was not playing last week, but we had to win. There's no other way to put it."
Mavericks forward Jerad Stewart when asked if it was strange to be watching a game from the press box (the sophomore hadn't missed a game in his 46-game career): "Yeah. It sucks." I would expect Stewart to be back in the lineup tonight.
Gwozdecky on tonight's rematch: "It will be another exciting game ... because Mankato is a darn-good hockey team."