Men’s hockey splits series at Bowling Green

The Minnesota State Mavericks won their first game against the Bowling Green Falcons 4-1 to extend their winning streak to three games. However, the Mavericks dropped game two by a 5-2 margin. The struggles early for the defense continue for MNSU in a back-and-forth season to open at 3-2.

The weekend started out hot, with three power-play goals in the first game as the Mavericks cruised by taking advantage of opportunities. The Falcons, for their part, continually shot themselves in the foot, giving the Mavs plenty of chances.

Parker Tuomie broke the ice first with the feed from C.J. Suess to put the Mavs up 1-0. The Falcons were able to respond to the first period deficit with a second period goal from Cameron Wright.

But the Mavericks were quick to retake the lead with a Zeb Knutson power-play score to go up 2-0. Connor Mackey scored the only non-power play goal early in the third period, for the first goal of the freshman’s career. Suess added the game-sealing goal late in the third on yet another power play to win 4-1. Suess looked phenomenal, with a goal and assist, while the young Mackey recorded three shots on goal with his score. Tuomie was also impressive, with five shots on goal, an assist and his opening score to lead the offense. The Mavs goaltender Connor LaCouvee had 16 saves in his second start as a Maverick, with two wins under his belt.

“It’s a great win, this place has been very difficult to get points out of, so it was a good start for us,” said Mavericks head coach Mike Hastings. “I thought we played a pretty solid 60 minutes and thought our penalty kill was very good for us tonight.”

Game two was not quite as fun for Minnesota State, getting blown out 5-2 after putting it on the Falcons the night before. The Falcons started strong, popping the Mavericks in the mouth early with two Craggs Lukas goals in the opening period to lead 2-0 early. Connor Ford added a goal to start the second period, then a Max Johnson power-play goal later on to put the Falcons up 4-0.

Knutson added his second goal in as many nights to cut into the lead in the second period, while a power play goal from Nicolas Rivera made it a 4-2 game heading into the third. However, the Falcons stayed clean in the period, adding a Brett D’Andrea goal to put the nails in the coffin. MNSU goaltender Jason Pawloski racked up 24 saves, bouncing back from a rough opening period, but was too late to save the game. Falcons goaltender Ryan Bednard had 26 saves on an impressive performance for Bowling Green.

“Didn’t take advantage of our opportunities early and we knew they would be pretty aggressive coming out here tonight,” said Hastings of game two. “They have a lot of pride in their program and what they’re doing and last night we got the best of them.. tonight they got the best of us.”

The Mavericks need to keep from last year’s trend of splitting series by returning home and winning back-to-back games. Losing after a Friday win was a trend last season that they would prefer not to repeat. On Oct. 27 and 28, the Mavs play Michigan Tech at the Verizon Wireless Center.

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