MANKATO, Minn. — It’s safe to say the scoring slump that haunted Minnesota State captain Joel Hanson at the start of this season is dead and buried.
After going pointless in the Mavericks first 10 games, Hanson has collected eight points in the Mavs’ last eight games — including two goals and an assist in MSU’s 6-1 rout of nonconference foe Princeton Friday in front of 3,232 people at the Alltel Center.
Minnesota State has a 5-1-2 record in those eight games.
“It always helps when your captain starts lighting it up,” said sophomore forward Jason Wiley. “He’s a really good player so it’s nice when he is contributing. And we need him to.”
When asked for the difference between a player scoring goals when getting his opportunities and one not capitalizing, Hanson could come up with only one word.
“Luck,” he said. “My second goal just rolled up his stick and somehow went in.”
Wiley scored a pair of goals in the final minutes of the third period, including one of the more unusual goals one will ever see.
Wiley dumped the puck into the Tigers end and icing was waved off. The puck was gathered in by a Princeton defenseman who looked to clear the zone. But his clearing attempt deflected off goalie Zane Kalemba and into the net.
“I was at the blue-line in the Princeton end, [when the goal horn went off]” Wiley said. “I didn’t even see it go in.”
Wiley’s second goal came with a little more effort, as he pounded in a loose puck in front of the net.
“I got laid out, but it was worth it,” Wiley said.
The story of the game for the Mavericks, however, was the play of Hanson and line-mates Trevor Bruess and Kael Mouillierat.
The latter got MSU on the board at the 6:05 mark of the first period on a great 1-on-1 play against the goalie. After taking a pass from Hanson at the half-wall, Mouillerat made one move and netted a backhander for his second goal of the season.
Hanson’s first of the game came at 10:47 to make it 2-0 and that was the score after one.
Princeton took advantage of a sluggish MSU start to the second by scoring its only goal of the game on a Cam MacIntyre tally. The goal was his team leading eighth.
Mick Berge and Hanson added second period goals for the Mavericks.
“It was very important to start the second half off well,” said MSU head coach Troy Jutting. “I thought we pretty much controlled the game from start to finish tonight.”
MSU will host Yale at 5:07 p.m. Sunday at the Alltel Center. Princeton will travel to Omaha for a 7:07 p.m. face-off at Nebraska-Omaha Sunday at the Qwest Center.