MANKATO, Minn. — For Minnesota State, it was nice to get back to home ice.
Credit Kael Mouillierat’s scoring surge for helping the Mavericks get back in the win column. The senior right winger scored MSU’s second and fourth goals and added an assist, as MSU defeated Alaska-Anchoage, 5-2, in WCHA action Friday at the Verizon Wireless Center.
“It’s been a while since we put five in the net, so that was cool,” said Mouillierat, who has seven points in four games.
It was the Mavericks’ second win in seven games, after a sweep at the hands of Wisconsin last weekend in which MSU took 25 minor penalties. That type of play continued into the first period of Friday’s game, in which the Mavericks committed nine penalties before the first intermission.
“We learned from last week and cleaned it up a little bit,” Mouillierat said.
UAA jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game when Kevin Clark brought the puck into the Mavericks’ zone on the Seawolves’ first rush up the ice. He left it for teammate Josh Lundeen, who left a drop pass for Nick Haddad, who fired a shot past MSU goaltender Phil Cook.
The first period ended with 32 total penalty minutes and no MSU goals.
“We had to kill off three penalties that period and that can get you in trouble,” Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting said.
MSU’s Eriah Hayes grabbed the puck off a turnover in the UAA end and walked in alone and beat Seawolves’ goaltender Jon Olthuis five-hole to put the Mavericks on the board 4:21 into the second period.
Cook kept the game tied when he robbed Seawolves’ forward Sean Wiles with his glove while lying on his front side near the midway point of the second period.
“The guy went for the wraparound and I saw him last minute,” said Cook, who finished with 28 saves. “I kind of threw up a prayer and luckily I got on top of it.”
Added Jutting, “I think that glove save was very critical for us.”
The Mavericks took the lead on the penalty kill late in the second period when Mouillierat pick-pocketed Luka Vidmar near the red line and put a forehand shot over Olthuis’ right shoulder.
“He’s really starting to play for us,” Jutting said. “Obviously we need him to be doing that right now.”
Mavericks’ forward Rylan Galiardi tipped a Kurt Davis shot into the net with 52 seconds remaining in the period to give the Mavericks a two-goal lead going into the third.
Mouillierat scored again to put the Mavericks up by three six minutes into the third period.
“Once a few start going in, you start to build confidence and that’s what’s going on with me right now,” Mouillierat said.
Five and a half minutes later, Zach Harrison forced another neutral zone turnover on the penalty kill and got it back to Mouillierat, who then flipped it ahead to Harrison, back to Mouillierat and back to Harrison for the goal.
“We’ve been concentrating on going strong back up the middle and forcing turnovers,” Mouillierat said. “We were lucky to get a couple chances off turnovers tonight.”
The Seawolves got a late goal by Alex Gellert with assists from Luka Vidmar and Kane Lafranchise at 14:11 of the third. Olthuis made 20 saves for UAA (10-17-2, 8-15-2 WCHA).
MSU (13-16-2, 7-15-1) will go for the sweep at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center.