Despite the fact that the Michigan Tech Huskies were out looking for revenge for their overtime loss on Friday night, the No. 11 Minnesota State Mavericks (7-3-2 overall, 5-3-2 WCHA) weathered the early storm, notched a pair of early goals and hung on for a 4-2 win and WCHA road sweep.
“I thought we played a smart hockey game tonight,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “The (two first period) goals were a big boost for us.”
Mavericks’ defenseman Nick Canzanello got the game-winner, his first goal of the season, at 16:10 of the second. With the puck loose near the Huskies’ goal, Canzanello beat the Huskies’ defenders to the puck and slid it past freshman goaltender Josh Robinson.
The Huskies (2-9-1 overall, 1-8-1 WCHA) flew out of the gates, out-shooting the Mavericks 5-0 in the first five minutes of play, but it was the Mavericks who got on the board first with a tally on their first shot of the game.
Center Trevor Bruess notched his sixth goal of the young season when he cut in alone on Robinson and beat him with a quick move to the backhand at 3:44.
“Trevor is a very good hockey player,” said Jutting. “Anytime you can get those scorers scoring, it’s a big confidence boost for them.”
The Mavericks struck again on the man advantage after defenseman Kurt Davis sent a home run pass from his own end to a streaking Rylan Galiardi. Galiardi made a nice move to beat Robinson at 15:19. Mavericks’ netminder Mike Zacharias also picked up an assist on the goal.
“You have to give (the Mavericks) credit; they got two chances and they scored,” said Huskies’ coach Jamie Russell.
The Huskies looked a bit more desperate in the early stages of the second period, as they held the Mavericks at bay in the defensive zone and fired pucks at Zacharias. The best chance in the early going was when Eric Kattelus hit Ryan Angelow with a pass, setting up a shot from the slot, but Zacharias came up with the stop.
Jordan Baker got the Huskies on the board with a great amount of crashing the net at 7:40. Center Brett Olson hit Baker cruising towards the Mavericks’ net, and Baker just redirected the pass into the net.
“I got a great pass from Olson and I just got my stick on it,” said Baker. “We have to play our game in order to get things to turn around for us.”
After the goal, the Huskies had a few good opportunities to even the game. Kattelus cut across in front of Zacharias, but couldn’t bury a backhand shot. Junior defenseman Drew Dobson fired a low shot, but the Huskies’ forward screening Zacharias couldn’t quite get a stick on the shot to redirect it.
Despite trailing 3-1 through two periods, the Huskies and Mavericks were even on shots with 17 each.
The Huskies struck quickly in the third period when senior center Alex Gagne fired a shot that deflected in off of a defenseman in front of the net and past Zacharias just 44 seconds in.
“Finally I got a lucky bounce on my side tonight,” said Gagne. “I thought we got a lot of momentum from that goal.”
Shortly after getting the goal, the Huskies had a golden opportunity to even the game when Mavericks’ defenseman Brian Kilburg was whistled for slashing. Gagne nearly netted his second goal of the game after carrying the puck out from the corner and firing a backhand that Zacharias fumbled.
About halfway through the final frame, Baker took a long lead pass and carried the puck in for a shot on goal and the rebound kicked straight out to Kattelus, whose shot was blocked. That shot rebounded out to MacLeod, who couldn’t find the back of the net either.
The Huskies slowed shortly after those great chances, and after taking a huge hit in the corner of his own end, junior defenseman John Kivisto was forced to take a penalty getting back to the front of the net. The penalty led to the Mavericks’ second power-play goal of the night.
Bruess made his second goal look even prettier than his first when he got loose with the puck and lifted a shot over a sprawling Robinson to regain the two-goal lead at 11:48.
Robinson finished the night with 21 stops on 25 Mavericks shots. Zacharias earned his seventh win with 26 stops on the night.