This past weekend, the Minnesota State University men’s hockey team got to experience its first taste of traveling mid-series as they swept the University of St. Thomas in a home-and-home matchup.
Freshman forward Luc Wilson shone Friday night, potting his first two career collegiate goals in the Mavericks’ 7-2 victory over the Tommies. Junior forward David Silye continued his strong career against the Tommies Saturday night as he tallied his second career hat trick en route to a 4-3 Maverick win.
The Mavericks got out to a quick start Friday as senior forward Brendan Furry got his team on the board just under five minutes into the game. Not long after, freshman forward Christian Fitzgerald tallied his first career collegiate goal with a snipe from the right hashmark to extend the Maverick lead to 2-0.
About three minutes later, St. Thomas cut the Minnesota State lead in half after freshman forward Cooper Gay potted his first collegiate goal with a wrist shot from the left circle. The goals came in quickly during the first period and Minnesota State carried the 2-1 lead heading into the second.
The Mavericks and Tommies fueled a hard-fought second period with neither team being able to cash in a goal during the first 13 minutes of action. Almost 14 minutes into the second period, the Tommies tied the game up at 2-2 as Gay buried a rebound past Maverick goaltender Alex Tracy for his second goal of the game.
Minnesota State and St. Thomas took a 2-2 tie heading into the final period of play. It didn’t take long for the Mavericks to break the tie as junior forward Ondrej Pavel tallied his second goal of the season and gave his team the important 3-2 lead.
Maverick goals came in bunches during the final frame as the team scored three goals in just over three minutes including Wilson’s first career collegiate goal. Wilson tallied the Mavericks’ seventh goal of the night on the powerplay with just under 10 minutes left in the third.
Minnesota State went on to defeat St. Thomas by a final score of 7-2. The Mavericks and Tommies then shifted the tides back to Mankato for the series finale on Saturday night.
Tracy got the start in net Saturday night for his first back-to-back appearance since Minnesota State’s series against Minnesota Duluth. St. Thomas was the first to get on the board Saturday night as freshman forward Jake Braccini wired a harmless wrist shot from the left circle that beat Tracy for a 1-0 lead.
Just over two minutes later Silye beat Tommie goaltender Ethan Roberts high on the glove side for his fifth of the year and making it 1-1. Nearly five minutes later, Silye potted his second goal of the game into a wide-open net on the powerplay which brought the Maverick lead to 2-1.
With a glimpse of déjà vu, Silye potted his third goal of the game on the powerplay just over five minutes later for the natural hat trick and gave the Mavericks a 3-1 lead. Silye now has two career hat tricks against St. Thomas including last years’ hat trick outdoors during Hockey Day Minnesota.
“It seems to be one of those teams where the puck bounces right for me,” Silye said. “So I’m just gonna keep rolling with it and not overthink it.”
The Maverick lead was cut to 3-2 under two minutes later as senior forward Luke Manning beat Tracy top-shelf from the high slot. With just under a minute remaining in the first period, St. Thomas appeared to have tied the game up at 3-3 as freshman forward Lucas Wahlin beat Tracy clean, but Minnesota State elected to challenge the goal for a potential offsides prior to the goal. After a long discussion from the referees, the goal was overturned and Minnesota State took a 3-2 lead heading into the second frame.
After a wild first period that saw several reviews for major penalties and goals and took almost an hour to complete, the Mavericks and Tommies returned to the ice for the second period. Despite the drama-filled first, both teams were unable to add to the scoresheet during the second.
Nearly a minute into the third period, the Mavericks appeared to have tallied their fourth goal of the game as senior forward Lucas Sowder tapped the loose puck into the yawning cage for a 4-2 lead. But as the story of the game would entail, the Tommies challenged the goal for a missed call prior to the goal, but with no success.
The teams battled in a hard back-and-forth third period, but the Tommies broke through with roughly eight minutes left to go. Minnesota State challenged the goal but had no success as freshman forward Luc Laylin cut the lead to 4-3.
St. Thomas pulled its goalie with just over two minutes left as they looked for the game-tying goal. Minnesota State’s defense came up strong as they kept St. Thomas off the board and cruised to a 4-3 victory, earning the series sweep.
“Odd game. Not a lot of flow to it,” MSU Head Coach Mike Hastings said. “I gotta give credit to St. Thomas because Rico is doing a really good job over there. It was a hard-fought win and it’s tough to sweep.”
With their series sweep over the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota State improved to 7-3-0 on the season and remains undefeated in conference play at 4-0-0. The Mavericks will have an off-week before returning home Nov. 18 -19 to host Northern Michigan.
Header Photo: The Mavericks secured the win 4-3 against St. Thomas Saturday, continuing a four-game win streak. In the first period, David Silye received a hat trick and Lucas Sowder (above) got the game-winner in period three. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
Write to Karson Buelow at Karson.Buelow@mnsu.edu