MANKATO, Minn. — Its been a long wait for Minnesota State forward Mike Louwerse.
Last season, Louwerse played in just four games before a sports hernia ended his season. Entering MSUs first game of the 2008-09 campaign, Louwerse, now a redshirt freshman, didnt take long to make an impact.
Netting the Mavericks first goal of the season at 4:16 in the first period on a 5-on-3 advantage, he added another in the second period, leading Minnesota State to a 5-2 nonconference victory over Bemidji State Friday at the Alltel Center.
Senior Mick Berge took a shot from the slot and Louwerse knocked in the rebound on goalie Matt Daltons stick side to give MSU the early 1-0 MSU lead.
It just took some weight off my shoulders, Louwerse said of his first period goal. It was nice to get that first one, especially so early on in the game.
While it was a bummer that he had to sit last year, I think it did him a lot of good in terms of knowing what he had to do this spring and summer to be an effective player, said MSU head coach Troy Jutting.
The first period ended with just the one goal, after a total of nine penalties — 26 total in the game.
Its tough, said BSU head coach Tom Serratore of the penalties. Its a different game. It hurts everybody but we play our best guys so much they were really fatigued and we dont have the speed that Mankato has anyway, and that compounds the dilemma.
The Beavers tied the game at the 3:44 mark in the second, when Travis Winter scored off a rebound after Brandon Marinos initial shot from the slot was blocked by MSU goalie Mike Zacharias.
Winters marker then started the scoring surge for the rest of the period, with a total of five goals from the two teams combined.
MSUs Jason Wiley fired a shot on goal from the boards and Geoff Irwin crashed the net hard for the rebound. Irwin adjusted to the rebound and scored on a backhand with a wide-open net, giving the Mavericks the lead for a second time at the 7:01 mark.
The Beavers, however, didnt take long to respond. Immediately following a holding penalty on MSUs Nick Canzanello — with a 4-on-3 advantage — Marino won the faceoff in the Mavericks zone, which was taken by Brad Hunt, who fired a wrist shot over Zacharias glove to tie the game yet again midway through the second.
With all the special-teams play throughout the period, MSUs fourth line — a group of all freshmen — finally found the ice after Hunts goal and put the Mavericks up for good.
Adam Mueller went behind the net and shot a backhanded pass to the slot were Justin Jokinen beat Dalton for the 3-2 lead.
It was great for Mike [Louwerse] to get on the board and it was great for Justin [Jokinen] to get on the board, Jutting said. I really thought all five [freshmen] played a pretty good hockey game.
With the second period winding down and the Beavers on a power play, Louwerse added his second goal of the game.
After two blocked shots in the BSUs offensive zone, Louwerse led a two-on-two break back the other way with Zach Harrison, and instead of making the pass to Harrison, Louwerse snuck the puck past Daltons glove side, giving the Mavericks a 4-2 lead heading into the second intermission.
It was a pretty big goal, Louwerse said. It put us up and gave us more of an advantage. We were shooting high all night at his glove and I just shot low-blocker side and it went in.
The Beavers had three more power play opportunities in the third period, but couldnt find the net.
Trevor Bruess capped the scoring for the night on an odd-man rush at 18:08.
Neither team had impressive numbers on the power play, as the Beavers were 2 of 12 and the Mavericks 1 of 10.
I thought we played a solid game, Jutting said. I dont think we were great by any means but I think we played a solid hockey game.
The Mavericks (1-0) host the Beavers (0-1) at 7:07 p.m. Saturday for game two of the series at the Alltel Center.