After a short break over the holidays, it’s Minnesota State’s turn to host the Alaska Nanooks this weekend in their first games since losing to the University of Minnesota November 19.
It has been some time since the Mavericks have played in a real game, 11 days to be exact, and there are some questions concerning how they will be able to come out and play after not having seen any real-game competition in almost two weeks. In the previous meeting between the Mavericks and the Nanooks, each team took a win away in their two-game series on the road in Fairbanks, Alaska.
In game one, Minnesota State dominated, scoring seven goals to the Nanooks one. However, it was not just in the scoring column where the Mavericks seemed to have dominated. The Mavericks took 45 shots compared to the Nanooks 16, nearly tripling the amount of shots on net all game by Alaska. Throughout the whole game, Minnesota State seemed like the aggressors, but there is one area where Alaska did lead.
By the end of the third period, the Nanooks had amassed eight penalties to the Mavericks’ three. Alaska seemed to be chasing Minnesota State around all game, ending with multiple hooking and tripping penalties. Though game one did not go very well for the Nanooks, game two was a different day, and a different game.
A much improved Alaska Nanooks team came out to play in their game two efforts. Maybe it was because of the lashing they took the day before, but the better team in game two was the Nanooks. Minnesota State did jump off to the early lead in the first on a goal scored by senior defenseman Sean Flanagan. However, after the first period goal by the Mavericks it was all Nanooks from that point on.
Within the first 30 seconds of the second period Alaska had jumped on the board, scoring on a power-play goal that came from a penalty on Minnesota State late in the first. After the first goal scored, the floodgates were opened and the Mavericks could not do anything to keep the Nanooks from scoring. Half-way through the second period, Alaska scored three-consecutive goals giving them the lead and then some.
Minnesota State did however try to make a late second period surge on a goal by freshman defender Ian Sheid, but it was not enough to pose a real comeback threat. The final ended by a score of 4-2 and the series was effectively split, up in Fairbanks. Now the series is in the Mavericks’ backyard at the Verizon Wireless Center, but it is going to take a lot for Minnesota State to take both games of the series and head coach Mike Hastings knows it.
“We’re going to have to be better then them from the tops of the circles down to the corners, and be better in 5-on-5 situations,” Hastings said.
It will be up to guys like freshman forward Marc Michaelis, the Mavericks’ leader in points scored, and the high-level play from captains C.J. Franklin and Brad McClure to pull off the sweep against the Alaska Nanooks. The puck will drop at 7:07 p.m. on Friday, December 2nd for game one of the series at the Verizon Wireless Center. Saturday’s puck-drop will happen at 7:07 p.m.