Men’s Hockey splits weekend series

The Mavericks split their first road series of the season 1-1 against the University of Alaska, Fairbanks this weekend, officially ending their five-game winning streak to start the season.
Minnesota State was on the road this past weekend to face the Alaska Nanooks, who have started out a little shaky this season entering their home stand against the Mavericks with a record of just 1-3. In the first game of the series, Minnesota State got off to a blazing start putting up three goals in the first, sending 16 shots at the net. They would continue their aggressive nature throughout the game, adding two more goals in both the second and third quarter, finishing the game with seven goals and accumulating 45 shots after it was all said and done.

The power play was once again a staple of this teams, as their ability to take advantage of odd man situations and score three goals when up a man has been a major part in their success this season. The Mavericks were able to extend their winning streak to five games after Friday’s win over the Nanooks, but the same team did not come out to play in Saturday’s game.

In game two of the series, discipline was becoming somewhat of an issue for this young group that is still trying to figure each other out, according to head coach Mike Hastings.

“I think I’m overly critical of our guys, whether it’s discipline or effort, and I thought the effort was there, but discipline could have been questioned a little bit,” Hastings said. “Like when we took ourselves off of a power play by taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which they called, but I’m not going to say I agreed with it.”

After commenting on the play, Hastings did say, however, that he had to “give it to them, they came out and played.” In Saturday’s 4-2 loss starting senior goaltender Cole Huggins didn’t get the nod. Instead, between the pipes for the Mavericks was sophomore back-up Jason Pawloski, but the change in goaltender isn’t to blame for the loss, according to Hastings.

“I can’t look at it and blame Pawloski,” Hastings said. “I thought one was a back door tap in where the guy was all alone and another was a rebound where defensively we didn’t pick somebody up and the third one, I don’t care who you put between the posts, that one’s not getting stopped.”

Hastings is right about one thing: that third goal was not getting stopped by anybody. The first half of the second period seemed to get away from Minnesota State after letting up three goals and giving up an early lead. The few minutes of malfunction however seemed to be what did MNSU in, in the end. The young but talented group will have to learn from their mistakes as the season progresses.

“We’re still learning about our group, and you know what, you give credit to Fairbanks. We learned what we didn’t do well,” Hastings said. “I thought we let it get away from us on the penalty kill and for maybe a four or five-minute segment.”

The Mavericks are now 5-1 and sit among the top of the WCHA leader board. They are at home next, hosting conference foe Ferris State this Friday and Saturday October 28 and 29. Puck drops at 7:07 p.m. both nights at the Verizon Wireless Center.

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