During Friday's game between the Mavericks and Gophers in Mankato, an MSU fan held up a sign displaying the WCHA standings. There were the once-mighty Gophers, sitting at the bottom of the list with a winless record and the Mavericks a few spots ahead of them.
What a difference a weekend makes.
The Gophers swept the Mavericks and moved back ahead of them by a point.
Second periods killed MSU this weekend. In first and third periods, the Mavericks outscored the Gophers 5-2. The middle periods: 7-1 Minnesota, including a four-goal outburst Saturday.
"We were horrible in the second period," Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said.
Said forward Mick Berge, who had two goals Saturday and a three-goal weekend: "(Minnesota) made us look silly in the second period."
Minnesota is 15-0-3 against the Mavericks in their last 18 meetings.
Another look at the keys to the weekend:
1. Great goaltending: Jutting went with Dan Tormey in place of Mike Zacharias and like, Zacharias Friday, Tormey was good but not great. Tormey made a few outstanding saves but would probably like to have another crack at Kyle Okposo's long power-play goal that tied the game at 2-2. Officials reviewed Tony Lucia's goal that made it 4-2 because it appeared that Minnesota forward Ryan Flynn bumped Tormey as he tried to make the save. The goal stood. Jutting said he didn't see the play.
2. Stay out of the box: The Mavericks were called for seven penalties for 25 minutes, including Jerad Stewart's major penalty for kneeing Mike Howe. Stewart was also given a game disqualification, which, if it stands, means he will have to sit out Friday's game at Denver. The Gophers scored two power-play goals, including one at the end of the Stewart's penalty. A Jon Kalinski interference penalty killed some third-period momentum, and a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty with 1:35 left kept the Mavericks from pulling Tormey for an extra attacker.
3. Home ice advantage: The Mariucci Arena crowd of 10,031 can be an intimidating environment. The crowd was quiet in the first period after a nasty head injury to Howe, who was taken off the ice on a backboard (it was later announced that he would be OK) and especially after the Mavericks grabbed a 2-1 lead on a Berge power-play goal. But the Gophers got their buldin back during their four-goal outburst in the second period.