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It was definitely a night Kael Mouillierat and the Minnesota State hockey team needed.
The Mavericks entered the weekend coming off a split with Alaska-Anchorage and began the weekend in ninth place in the WCHA and had never earned more than two points in a series this season. They had a dominating win over the Seawolves last Friday, only to lose Saturday and earn a split.
After beating Michigan Tech handily Friday, the Mavericks responded with a 3-2 win Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center to complete their first conference sweep of the season and climb into the middle of the pack in the conference standings.
“Our goal this weekend was to get four points,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “It was the only thing we were worried about. We didn’t care how. The four points were what was important and we accomplished that goal.”
Mouillierat scored twice to lead the Mavericks and it all started with his second effort early in the first period.
Barely a minute into the game, Mouillierat caught a pass from Jerad Stewart at the high slot and had his initial shot blocked by Tech goaltender Josh Robinson. Mouillierat fell on the ice, but jumped up to regroup and found the puck before Robinson could cover it to score on his second opportunity at 1:22.
“It feels really good,” Mouillierat said. “Obviously I haven’t been putting the puck in the net like the way I did last year, but you just have to keep doing the little things and they’ll come eventually.”
It was the senior assistant captain’s second goal of the season after netting 17 last year, and his first goal in six games.
“He needs to get on track for us,” Jutting said, “and hopefully tonight was the start of that.”
A few minutes after Mouillierat’s first goal, Zach Harrison scored his fourth of the season when he came down the slot and redirected a perfect centering pass from Geoff Irwin to beat Robinson.
After a sluggish second period, Mouillierat scored his second goal of the game at 3:16 of the third when he received a pass from Kurt Davis and skated alone toward Robinson.
“I didn’t want to go to my backhand again because he robbed me the first time,” Mouillierat said. “So I thought I would go the other way and put it upstairs and luckily it went in.”
The Huskies were down 3-0, but looked to ease closer when Bryce Reddick put the puck past Mavericks’ netminder Austin Lee midway through the third, but the whistle blew just before the puck crossed the goal line. The play was reviewed, and ruled no goal because of the whistle.
“That’s tough to swallow,” said Huskies’ coach Jamie Russell. “You have mistakes at this level and it costs the hockey game. Points are too valuable to have mistakes made like that.”
The Huskies found the net for the first time at 16:26 when Anthony Schooley skated in alone after a defensive breakdown and beat Lee one-on-one. Tech made it a one-goal game with an extra attacker in the final minute when Drew Dobson scored with 13 seconds left.
“A bounce or two here is the difference between a split and going home without a point,” Russell said.
Lee made 22 saves for his fifth win of the season and Robinson made 27 saves. The teams combined to go 0-for-8 on the power play, and Minnesota State outshot Tech 30-24.
The Mavericks (6-7-1, 4-7-1 WCHA) continue conference play with a home-and-home series against Minnesota next weekend. Friday’s game is at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis and Saturday’s game is at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato. The Huskies (3-9-0, 2-8-0 WCHA) travel to Madison, Wis., next weekend for a series with Wisconsin.