The Minnesota State Mavericks split the home-and-home series 1-1 this past weekend against the rivaled Minnesota Golden Gophers.
It was an unusual series for the Mavericks. Not because of what happened on the ice, but because of the amount of traveling both teams had to do in such a short time-period. Game one of the series was played here in Mankato at the Verizon Wireless Center this past Friday. In the previous seven games before facing Minnesota, The Mavericks were in a bit of a rut. Minnesota State had only won two of the seven games they had played and were desperately searching for a win. They picked a great time to finally come out victorious.
The Mavericks opened up the first game with a goal mid-way through the first period by junior assistant-captain Brad McClure. Assisting on the first goal of McClure’s night was senior forward Michael Hunkerbrinker and freshman defenseman Ian Scheid. Shortly after the first goal, the Mavericks added another point to the scoring column in the first period on a power play goal by junior captain C.J. Franklin. Assisting on the goal for his second assist of the night was Scheid and freshman forward Parker Tuomie.
In the beginning of the second period, the Mavericks got themselves into a bit of penalty trouble on a roughing call against sophomore forward Max Coatta. The Gophers then scored on the ensuing power play on a goal by Minnesota’s Tommy Novak. After the Gophers brought the game within one, Minnesota State answered with not one, but two of their own goals in the second period. Tuomie scored the first goal on a power play late in the period, and McClure scored the second goal for his second of the night.
The final score of game one of the series finished 4-1 in favor of the Mavericks. Sophomore goaltender Jason Pawloski came out with the win, only allowing one goal on 25 shots. After the victory, Minnesota State’s head coach Mike Hastings shared his comments in a press conference after the game.
“Ultimately, I thought we played a good hockey game,” Hastings said. “That’s what’s most important. I thought we got off to a good start and we needed some guys to step up, [including] some upper-classmen and I thought they did.”
Game one of the series went about as smoothly as they could have asked for. The Mavericks would then travel for game two in Minneapolis in an attempt to sweep the University of Minnesota during the regular season for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. Unfortunately, game two did not see a lot of offense on the board, but there was plenty of action going on in the net for the Mavericks. Pawloski started his fifth game of the season for the Mavericks, and he saved 36 of 37 shots sent his way, according to Minnesota State’s athletic site. The lone goal of the game was scored in the second period on a power play by Justin Kloos of the Golden Gophers. The final score of game two was 1-0 Minnesota, and the series was tied up 1-1 for the weekend.
The Mavericks are scheduled for a short holiday break over Thanksgiving weekend, but they will have to regroup together quickly for a home series against the Alaska Nanooks. Game one of the series will take place at the Verizon Wireless Center Friday, December 2 and 3. The puck is set to drop at 7:07 p.m. The Mavericks were able to split the series when visiting Alaska earlier this season. The Mavericks have performed well this season at home, holding a 6-2-1 record.