|Pat Christman/The Free Press|
1. Friday night is finally fun: The Mavericks won their first Friday night game since December 9 and their first WCHA series opener since Nov. 11 by beating a pretty good Michigan Tech team. Minnesota State got up 3-0 in the first period and, after Tech tied the game, got two in the third to pull off the win. Goals were scored by Zach Palmquist, Zach Lehrke, Eriah Hayes, Matt Leitner (GWG) and Johnny McInnis. Palmquist also had an assist for a two-point game, and Jean-Paul LaFontaine assisted on two goals. With the bad streak broken, MSU will try to keep another one going, as they have won their last four Saturday-night games.
2. Deja vu (for awhile): A week ago Michigan Tech was down 4-0 at No. 1 Minnesota Duluth before rallying to tie 4-4. The next night the Huskies shut out the Bulldogs 5-0. On Friday, MSU was up 3-0 in the first period and Tech got hits rally hat going again. A power-goal late in the first period and two deflected goals (one on the power play) in the second tied up the game and seemingly gave all of the momentum to the visitors. Tech probably would have taken the lead if not for the continued brilliant play of goalie Phil Cook, who stopped 22 shots in the second period and had a season-high 43 for the game. The Mavericks stopped the bleeding in the third, though, as Leitner scored an early power-play goal to go up 4-3.
3. Pretty plays: Just as they did in their win at Bemidji State last Saturday, the Mavericks were scoring on some brilliant-looking plays and set-ups. Palmquist took a drop pass from Eli Zuck then pinched in deep before lifting a backhanded shot over goalie Josh Robinson. Hayes fired in a perfect LaFontaine pass that hit his tape from out of the corner 50+ feet away and McInnis finished off a nifty move and pass from Justin Jokinen. LaFontaine simple continues to show off his great vision and high hockey IQ out there.
Deep thought: A bit off topic but thanks to the MSU athletics crew for putting on the annual media hockey game tonight after the Mavs played. Part of the reason the "Three Thoughts" were a bit late tonight was because I participated in it, along with more than 20 others on the Verizon Wireless Center ice. As usual, a great time was had by all — and I'm going to be darn sore in the morning!
Read The Free Press' gamer here.
Around the WCHA: St. Cloud State 5, Wisconsin 1 ... Bemidji State 1, Nebraska Omaha 1 (OT) ... Colorado College 2, Denver 0 ... Minnesota Duluth 4, Alaska Anchorage 1