MANKATO, Minn. — It may have taken until the halfway point of the season, but the Minnesota State Mavericks fourth line has finally found its scoring stride.
Jason Wiley scored a pair of goals and Andy Sackrison added two assists as the Mavericks defeated Yale, 4-1, in a non-conference game Sunday at the Alltel Center.
“I thought we did the things we needed to do to be successful,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “I think we could have scored as many there in the second period, but I think that Yale team is a good team. I like that team a lot.”
The game was evenly matched until the 14:23 mark of the first period when Wiley continued his red-hot play, scoring his first goal of the period and third of the weekend. Sackrison and James Gaulrapp earned assists.
Jon Kalinski made it a two-goal advantage just over three minutes later on a great individual effort, skating from the right circle through the front of the crease before unleashing a wrist shot past Yale netminder Ryan Rondeau at 17:26.
MSU made it 3-0 35 seconds later as a Wiley centering pass deflected off a defenseman’s skate. It was Wiley’s second goal of the weekend where the sophomore had a puck deflect off an opponent and into the net. Entering Friday’s game against Princeton, Wiley only had two career goals.
“We’ve been working hard in practice and we’re really starting to click,” Wiley said of his line. “But we could have scored a few more goals tonight, so we need to bear down and start burying all our chances.”
Rondeau finished out the period before being replaced by Minnesota native Alec Richards.
Both teams went scoreless in the second period as Yale out-chanced the Mavericks 11-7 during the middle frame.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board 5:39 into the third on a power-play goal by Sean Backman. It was the sophomore’s team-leading sixth tally this season.
Trevor Bruess capped scoring for the Mavericks with an empty net goal at the 19:25 mark of the third.
Mike Zacharias started again in net for the Mavericks and was stellar, stopping 27 of 28 shots. The junior improved his record to 8-4-3 this season.
“It was definitely good to get back into the win column after the way we played in Omaha,” Zacharias said. “I’m really happy with how the guys responded.”
Richards made 20 saves in two periods for the Bulldogs, not allowing a goal and preventing any further damage. For the game, Minnesota State had a 33-28 shot advantage.
“I thought their goaltender they put in in the second played a great game,” Jutting said. “We had five or six great opportunities there in the second period.”
Yale will resume non-conference play Wednesday with a 7:07 p.m. face-off at Connecticut. Minnesota State is off until a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series Jan. 11-12 at Minnesota-Duluth.