The three game streak the Minnesota State Mavericks had collected was splintered by the Alaska Nanooks. The Nanooks took game one with a 5-0 mark that made the road trip a tough one to stomach. The Mavericks came back strong with a 5-1 the following night, which helped them to a 17-7 record but left some meat on the bones of the weekend road trip.
“I learned that we got some pushback,” said Mavericks head coach Mike Hastings to the MSU athletic department on what he took from his team’s weekend. “We didn’t do a good job the first night, but came right back.”
The northern venture could not have fared worse on the opening night, with the Mavericks getting fully outplayed by the Nanooks despite the shots on goal evening up at 26 each.
The first goal for Alaska was in the opening period, as Zach Frye slipped a deep shot passed Jason Pawloski on a power play, which set the tone for a night that contained 25 penalty minutes from the Mavs. It started to get out of hand in the second period, with Tristan Thompson finding the back of the net early on to go up 2-0. A late period goal from Taylor Munson on the tap-in further exacerbated the issue.
Instead of a final push in the closing period, the Mavericks dug themselves into a deeper hole. Connor LaCouvee came in to relieve Pawlowski, but did not find any answers, letting up a pair of goals himself. The biggest problem leaving the game was the penalties, as the constant time in the box kept the Mavs from building any sort of offensive rhythm or momentum.
Coach Hastings clearly lit a fire under the team, which came out red hot to start game two. The Mavericks went down yet again early on to a Tyler Cline goal following a five minute penalty, which could have potentially derailed the Mavericks again early. But this game was not set for the same trajectory. Charlie Gerard came back to even the game, snaking past defenders to tie the game 1-1. The Mavericks never looked back.
Brad McClure registered his fifth and sixth goals of the season later in the opening period, with the senior taking over the game, willing the outcome to be vastly different. His second goal was also on a power play, a change that desperately needed to be made after the Mavericks were abused by penalties the night before.
After jumping out to a 3-1 lead, the Mavericks added two more in the following period, dominating the game 5-1 before the third period even kicked off. LaCouvee adjusted well after the early goal, stopping 16 of the 17 Alaska shots. The Mavericks offense, clicking on all cylinders and unencumbered with penalties, racked up 36 shots on goal in a dominate finish to the weekend.