The Minnesota State University, Mankato Men’s Hockey team, who came into last weekend riding a four-game win-streak, successfully completed the series sweep against unranked Lake Superior State this past weekend. The sweep improves the win-streak to six games and bumps them up to No. 14 in the USCHO poll.
Junior defenseman, Akito Hirose, who’s had a hot stick as of late, picked up the game-winning goal in overtime as the Mavericks defeated the Lakers 3-2 in game one. Junior forward and Hobey Baker nominee for the Mavericks, David Silye, picked up two goals in game two, leading the Mavericks to a 3-1 victory over the Lakers.
“At this time in the year, garnering points in our league will be difficult,” said Minnesota State Head Coach, Mike Hastings. “It’s not perfect, but it’s an important weekend for us and I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”
The first period of game one started out all too familiar for the Mavericks as they were able to outshoot their opponent, but with little to show for it. Freshman forward, Christian Fitzgerald, kicked off the scoring for the Mavericks just five minutes into the second as he buried a one-timer from a great pass from freshman forward, Simon Tassy, who registered his first collegiate point.
Tassy, a native of Montreal, P.Q., was sidelined during the first half of the year after a knee injury he suffered last year in juniors. Hastings spoke briefly about what he saw from Tassy in his debut as a Maverick.
“This is a long time coming for him,” said Hastings. “He’s a good hockey player. He makes other players around him better.”
The second period remained scoreless until about four minutes remaining as sophomore forward, Dawson Tritt, netted the equalizer to put the game at 1-1 heading into the third period. About halfway through the third, the Mavericks were able to regain the lead as junior defenseman, Jake Livingstone, found senior forward, Ryan Sandelin, in front of the net for a go-ahead powerplay goal.
About five minutes later, however, it was the Lakers who picked up their second goal and were able to tie the game up once again. The game remained scoreless in the third period and both teams found themselves clawing away at an important overtime win.
It was the Mavericks who were able to convert just over two minutes into the closing frame as Hirose tapped in the loose change to propel the Mavericks to the 3-2 win. Minnesota State and Lake Superior returned to the ice on Saturday for the series finale.
The Mavericks found themselves in a similar situation during the first period of Saturday’s game. Though they outshot the Lakers by a 7-1 margin, the score remained deadlocked at zeroes heading into the second period.
Much to the dismay of Minnesota State, it was Lake Superior who got on the board first just over two minutes into the second period. The game remained in favor of the Lakers until 1:28 remaining in the second when Silye picked up a second deflection on a shot from Hirose.
Hirose continued his hot streak as he picked up the Mavericks’ second goal of the game just under 4 minutes into the third period. The Mavericks remained in control for the rest of the game and picked up an empty-net goal to seal the deal.
With their two wins this past weekend, the Mavericks improve to 16-9-1 overall and 11-6-1 in CCHA play. Minnesota State will be back in action this weekend as they travel to Ferris State for another conference matchup.
Write to Karson Buelow at Karson.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header photo: MSU Men’s Hockey team sweeps Lake Superior State with scores of 3-2 Friday, Jan. 20 and 3-1 Saturday, Jan. 21, extending their streak to six-straight wins. (Dylan Engel)