The MSU Maverick men’s hockey team was unable to defend the WCHA Final Five Championship for its third consecutive season last weekend, when the team fell at the tournament held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Mavericks faced a tough Bowling Green State Falcons squad Friday night in the semi-final game and were able to squeak out the victory thanks to a pair of first period goals from Maverick sophomore Brad McClure and junior Casey Nelson.
Those were the only goals the game would see until the third period when BGSU Mitch McClain snuck one past goaltender Cole Huggins for the power play goal. The Mavericks were able to keep the Falcons off the board for the rest of the game however, and ended up winning 2-1.
“We’re blessed to be moving on, we appreciate the opportunity,” Coach Mike Hastings said after the game. The victory over the Falcons marked Hastings 100th career win since taking over as head coach 4 years ago.
Saturday, the Mavericks were matched up against the Bulldogs of Ferris State in the WCHA Championship Game.
The Mavericks took the lead early in the first when senior Bryce Gervais deflected a shot past the Ferris State goaltender on the Maverick’s power play. The goal was Gervais’ team-leading 16th of the year and puts him at 67 on his career, just one shy of the MSU NCAA D-I record held by Shane Joseph (1999-2004).
The Bulldogs were able to answer back to Gervais’ goal quickly and tied the game back up at one in the first with a power play goal coming from Brandon Anselmini.
With the game still tied at one late in the second period Bulldog forward Gerald Mayhew was awarded a penalty shot which he used to beat Huggins glove side and put the Bulldogs up 2-1. That goal would be the last of the night and the Bulldogs skated off the ice as WCHA Champions.
The loss marked the end of the season for the Mavericks who were not invited to the NCAA D1 Ice Hockey Championship Tournament despite the high preseason expectations the team had.
“I’m gonna miss this group of seniors, for obvious reasons. They’ve won 100 games in their four-year career since they’ve been here,” Hastings said. “That’s on ice, the things you don’t get to see off ice, in the classroom, how they did it over their four year career, we’re gonna miss them for a lot of different reasons not just on the ice.”