Mavericks sweep weekend series, close in on WCHA title

The team needs one more win to clinch the title after sweeping Michigan Tech

Brady Olson
Staff Writer

The Minnesota State men’s hockey team spent a weekend in Houghton, Michigan trying to get two games closer to a WCHA title defense. With a shootout win followed by an overtime win over Michigan Tech, they are now just one win away from clinching their second straight WCHA title. 

The best way to describe the Friday matchup would be to call it a 60-minute long slog. 

The first two periods were scoreless as the Mavs outshot Michigan Tech 23-13. MSU got two power play opportunities in the second period, both coming up empty handed. 

The second of those power plays was especially hard for the Mavs, as they failed to even get a shot on goal.

The third period was a struggle for the Mavericks. Despite allowing only three shots on goal, the Huskies managed to convert on a power play, and taking a 1-0 lead. 

Minnesota State then began the tough task of tying the game. They shut down a Huskies power play, failed to convert on one of their own, and eventually went into desperation mode by moving to an empty net with 2:23 to play. 

The move would pay off, as sophomore Jake Jaremko hit the equalizer with just 55 seconds remaining.

In overtime, both teams failed to gain any momentum as both defenses stood strong. 

The Mavs only got off four shots in the period, but they were able to force a second overtime. In the 3-on-3 overtime period, both team still failed to score, which led to the Mavs’ first shootout of the season. 

In the shootout, the silence was broken when Chris Van Os-Shaw scored for the Mavericks. 

The Huskies had a chance to respond, but freshman goalie Dryden McKay was successful in stopping Michigan Tech’s Colin Sowyer from scoring.

Much like the first game, Saturday’s game was a come from behind effort. Despite a quiet first period, Michigan Tech scored back-to-back power plays in the second to take a 2-0 lead. 

MSU responded, however, as junior Marc Michaelis scored on a Maverick power play with less than a minute to go in the period.

The third period featured three MTU power plays, but all came away empty handed. 

MSU had two of their own, and Michaelis found the back of the net a second time with under five minutes to go. Just like the previous game, overtime was forced by the Mavericks. 

However, there was no need for a shootout in this one, as sophomore Connor Mackey hit the game-winner as the Huskies failed to get a shot off.

The Mavericks currently hold a 16 point lead over both Bowling Green and Northern Michigan, but both of those teams have two more games left than the Mavs. And while the Falcons and Wildcats are still mathematically alive, it could all be decided Friday when MSU plays Alaska in Fairbanks. 

The Mavericks swept the Nanooks in Mankato back in October, and Alaska is currently 9-12-1 in WCHA play. A win over Alaska, or losses from Bowling Green and Northern Michigan, would clinch the WCHA crown for MSU.

Feature photo by Kjerstin Hall | MSU Reporter.

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