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Friday nights have been pretty good to the Minnesota State hockey team lately.
Last Friday, the Mavericks beat Alaska-Anchorage 8-2 with four goals from senior forward Jerad Stewart. And Friday at the Verizon Wireless Center the Mavericks dropped Michigan Tech, 5-2, in front of a crowd of 3,257 in a WCHA matchup.
Line mates Zach Harrison and Geoff Irwin combined for seven points. Harrison had a goal and three assists and Irwin had two goals and an assist to lead the Mavericks past the Huskies in WCHA play.
The man-advantage was the difference in the game, as the Mavericks scored three of their five goals on the power play, and Tech had one.
â€œYouâ€™re not going to be successful playing on the road when you take eight minutes worth of penalties in the first 15 minutes of the hockey game,â€ said Huskies coach Jamie Russell. â€œYou put yourself short-handed. Even strength we gave up one goal.â€
The Mavericks had a big lead early — scoring three goals in the first period — and added two more goals early in the second to take a 5-0 lead with 12:29 remaining in the middle frame.
â€œAny time you can get three goals in a period, in this league,â€ said Mavericks coach Troy Jutting, â€œitâ€™s a pretty good period.â€
Irwin scored the first of his two at 4:05 of the first period when he skated across the blue line and fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Tech goaltender Kevin Genoe. Mike Louwerse made it 2-0 at 11:21 when he received a pass from Rylan Galiardi crossing the blue line and skated in alone toward Genoe and beat the freshman for his fourth goal of the season.
Harrison gave the Mavericks a three goal lead after what was the nightâ€™s prettiest play of the game, a wrap-around goal with four skaters per side at 16:55.
The senior winger swung around the Huskies net and when he saw Genoe cover the near post he skated an extra stride out from the goal line to beat him with a far-side shot. That goal chased Genoe out of the game, who finished with six saves and three goals allowed. Josh Robinson came on in relief.
â€œI didnâ€™t think our goaltenders head their best night tonight,â€ Russell said.
Irwin notched his second goal at 2:41 of the second period when he skated in from the side of the crease and lifted a backhand shot into the net. Stewart made it 5-0 at 7:31 when he scored on another backhanded shot after receiving a nice pass from Harrison as he shot down the slot.
A long pass from Ricky Doriott to Drew Dobson at the blue line finally got Tech on the board at 9:22 of the second period. Dobson skated toward Mavericks netminder Austin Lee with two Mavericks defenders trailing him and beat Lee for the Huskiesâ€™ first goal. Brett Olson capped the scoring for the night when he cleaned up a rebound in front of the net at 15:58 on a power play, which gave way to a scoreless third period.
â€œItâ€™s been an all season type of thing where we try to learn how to close down games,â€ Irwin said. â€œWe played really smart defensively and as a team unselfish.â€
Lee finished with 27 saves and evened his record to 4-4. Robinson finished with 30 saves in relief. Ben Youds had three assists for the Mavericks, and Robinson and Lee each added an assist. Minnesota State outshot Tech 41-29.
The Mavericks (5-7-1 overall, 3-7-1 in the WCHA) and Huskies (3-8-0, 2-7-0) finish the two game series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center.