MANKATO, Minn. — It took the WCHA’s best power play six tries to score its first goal Friday night, but it didn’t take near that long for Colorado College to get its man-advantage clicking Saturday against Minnesota State.
The No. 10 Tigers — who have converted on 31.7 percent of their power-play chances this season — added two more power-play goals to their total and rode their hot goaltender to a 3-2 win over the Mavericks at the Verizon Wireless Center in front of a crowd of 4,307. The win moves the Tigers’ road record to 3-0-1 in conference play.
“Whenever you can get a win on the road and especially a sweep, it’s humongous,” said Tigers’ defenseman Nate Prosser. “We have guys working hard and the guys are working as a team.”
Prosser scored what would become the game-winner early in the third off a rebound, and Joe Howe stopped 28 shots for his seventh win of the season. Until a Mavericks’ goal in the first period, Howe hadn’t allowed one for almost 85 straight minutes, dating back to last Saturday’s game against Minnesota-Duluth.
“[Howe] was the difference tonight, no question,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “The goals we got were from a third shot and another one that deflected; those were the only two we got on a lot of quality opportunities.”
Howe did a little of everything in the win. He stopped a plethora of quality-scoring opportunities by the Mavericks in all three periods, he stopped Zach Harrison’s penalty shot midway through the third to keep the Tigers’ lead at two, and he even went out to play the puck near the boards halfway to the blue line on one occasion cleanly and without a negative outcome.
“He’s playing unbelievable right now,” Prosser said. “He’s making huge saves when we need him to and he did that tonight.”
It took nearly 64 minutes for either team to score a goal Friday night, but it took just less than 16 minutes for each team to get one apiece Saturday. The Tigers and Mavericks each scored on their first power-play chance of the game.
Ryan Lowery started the scoring when he beat Austin Lee with a wrist shot from the high slot at 11:43 of the first period off a Mike Testwuide pass.
Mike Louwerse tied it a few minutes later at 15:46 when he scored off a rebound from the doorstep after Kurt Davis’ initial shot from the point was stopped.
The Mavericks had their chances in the first, but couldn’t solve Howe for more than one goal in the period.
Kael Mouillierat was stoned by the freshman on a wide-open look from in front of the crease and Tyler Pitlick also had a couple of good scoring chances come up short in the period. Pitlick was stuffed by Howe on a one-timer in front of the net with just more than seven minutes to play and then had another shot stopped after he made a nice move on a defender to go untouched to the net.
“[Howe] is sure off to a good start,” said Tigers’ coach Scott Owens. “He’s playing like an upperclassman and not like a true freshman.”
The Tigers took a 2-1 lead at 3:24 of the second period when Lowry passed to Stephen Schultz for a one-timer from the top of the left circle that went through traffic and through Lee’s legs. The Tigers added their third goal when Prosser knocked in a rebound at 3:55 of the third period on a power play. Rylan Schwartz took the initial shot.
The Mavericks had two power-play chances in the second period, but both man-advantages turned into four-on-four situations after Geoff Irwin committed a penalty on each of his team’s power plays.
Channing Boe added a late goal at 15:35 of the third with a shot that deflected past Howe from the point to make it a 3-2 game. Lee finished with 28 saves, and Davis had two assists.
Colorado College (7-2-1, 6-1-1 WCHA) hosts Robert Morris in a non-conference series next weekend, while Minnesota State (3-6-1, 1-6-1 WCHA) continues conference play at Alaska-Anchorage.