The Minnesota State men’s hockey team produced two wins on the weekend, sweeping the Bulldogs and now move to 4-3-1 as they head into their first home series of November.
The Mavs defeated the Bulldogs 6-2 in their first game of the series. Lucas Sowder led the way in this game with four assists. Sam Morton (one goal, two assists) and Brian Carrabes (two goals, one assist) also added three points. The Mavericks scored the first three points of the night and never checked their rearview mirror as they cruised to a 6-2 victory.
Head coach Luke Strand was impressed with Sowder, Morton, Carrabes and the entire first-line as a whole.
“Their success came from playing a team game,” Strand said in a press conference posted to the Maverick Athletics website. “It’s great they got rewarded with points because they did it by playing the right way. We talked about how we needed to play the first five minutes of a game and I was proud of how the entire team followed through and committed to the way we needed to play. We had a good balance between risk and reward and made smart decisions on the ice.”
The Mavs played a tough schedule to open the year, taking on unfamiliar and very strong opponents as Strand thought it would help them prepare for the rest of the season. With their first win of the weekend, the Mavs moved to exactly .500 on the season (3-3-1) and Strand’s plan seems to be going exactly how he wanted.
“I think our tough non-conference schedule helped prepare us for this first one in the CCHA tonight, but we know we are going to have to be prepared to play an even better game tomorrow if we want to be successful,” Strand said.
Strand was right with his final statement, they needed all hands on deck to seize the 3-2 overtime win the next night as it came down to the final seconds for the Mavs to pull away with their win.
With 6.3 seconds left in overtime, Evan Murr sent the final shot past Bulldogs’ goaltender Logan Stein and into the net. With that shot, he sent the Mavs to 4-3-1.
“It was a great job by Evan to figure out where the breakdown was and take advantage of it,” Strand said. “We felt we had a good plan for the power play situations to start overtime but we weren’t able to convert. Credit to our guys for sticking with it and coming home with a sweep.”
Murr’s goal was assisted by Morton, who scored two goals of his own in the game. Morton had three goals on the weekend, and Strand had high praise for his captain.
“Sam Morton put the team on his back in a lot of ways this weekend,” Strand said. “His leadership made us very sturdy when he was out on the ice. His contributions were extremely important.”
Alex Tracy picked up two wins in goal this weekend, saving 31 shots in the first game and 40 in the second to bring his season total above 200, with 202. With Murr and a few other Mavericks scoring their first goals of the season, they now are up to 12 different players that have scored a goal this season. Morton still leads the way in that category with five.
As they continue their season, Strand, Morton and the Mavs will return home for another conference matchup with Bemidji State.
“We’ll be excited to get back home next week,” Strand said. “We can’t wait to play another conference opponent, hopefully in front of a full building.”
Header Photo: The Mavericks are on the brink of becoming a ranked Division I hockey team. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)
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