MSU off to the WCHA Championship game

The team swept Lake Superior State over the weekend to move on to the final round

Brady Olson
Staff Writer

The Minnesota State men’s hockey team dominated the ice over the weekend, allowing just one goal over two games as the Mavericks swept the Lake Superior State Lakers 2-0 in the WCHA semifinals.

The Friday game got kicked into gear early on, as LSSU’s Diego Cuglietta scored just 97 seconds into the contest. 

However, Minnesota State would respond fiercely. 

Mavericks junior Charlie Gerard would tie things up a few minutes later, and sophomore Walker Duehr would give the Mavericks the lead just a minute after Gerard’s equalizer. 

The Lakers would have a chance to even it up when Maverick sophomore Riese Zmolek entered the penalty box, but MSU refused to allow any shots at the goal.

In the second period, both teams appeared to be evenly matched throughout. 

The Mavs had some especially close calls in allowing a second goal, but held strong whenever the Lakers closed in. MSU would have two power plays in the period, but LSSU did an exceptional job in stifling the Maverick attack. 

The third period started even more electric than the first. 

Two minutes into the period, Gerard got the puck away on a breakaway. Tripped up behind, it appeared that Gerard got the puck across just before he crashed into LSSU goalie Nick Kossoff. 

Nonetheless, the referees declared no goal. Gerard would be gifted a penalty shot, which would be successfully saved by Kossoff. 

The Lakers would get three power plays after that, but the Mavs’ lockdown defense down the stretch would secure the victory.

Game two started off much differently than the first, as little action ensued for the first nine minutes of the game. However, that shifted dramatically when LSSU’s Max Humitz got called for a major penalty on high-sticking. That opened the door for the Mavericks, as freshman forward Julian Napravnik and sophomore forward Reggie Lutz would score goals in quick succession on the power play. The Lakers would get two power plays of their own in the period, but they failed at getting close to the goal as the Mavs took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

The second period saw zero scoring, but totaled a combined six penalties between the two teams. The Lakers saw many close calls with a score, but were repelled in every attack. 

With five minutes to go, a collision between Lutz and LSSU’s Brayden Gelsinger sent both to the penalty box, and the crowd got to see some 4-on-4 action. A couple of minutes later, MSU junior Ian Scheid and Humitz were both sent to the box after Humitz charged into MSU goalie Dryden McKay after a McKay save.

For the first 18 minutes, the third period was mostly an up-and-down affair as the Mavericks began to milk the clock and the Lakers entered desperation mode. 

Both teams would take ten shots in the period, but the Mavericks mainly attacked near the end of the period. The Lakers looked to mount one last charge, but a crucial penalty with 2:03 left all but ended the fight. The goalie was pulled with about 30 seconds left, but the effort proved futile as the Mavericks won 2-0.

With the sweep the Mavericks are now 20-1-0 at the Verizon Center this season. Their final home game will take place Saturday, March 23 when they play Bowling Green for the WCHA Championship.

Header photo courtesy of msumavericks.com.

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