Pair of streaks snapped for Minnesota State
Defending McNaughton Cup and Broadmoor Trophy champion (and predicted repeat winner) Minnesota State found itself in an odd spot coming into this weekend: A four-game losing streak to start the weekend, coupled with a three-game scoring drought (which came against two top-ranked teams in Omaha and St. Cloud, but distressing nonetheless). The Mavericks traveled to instate rivals Bemidji State this week — typically a team that has given them fits while on their home ice — and ended both streaks in emphatic fashion. MSU beat BSU 3-2 in both games to earn the hard-fought sweep. The Mavericks scored two shorthanded goals on Friday and two power play goals on Saturday.
Four different players scored for the Mavericks, who at the very least seem to be back on the right track after their weird start. Now, the question is if they can sustain it: The Mavs host Alaska, travel to a new league rival in Ferris State and then have a home-and-home against Minnesota for their next three weekends.
Beavers get a wakeup call
Conversely, Bemidji State finds itself with more questions after falling twice against the Mavericks in a pair of winnable games. The Beavers have a strong (like, top-10 quality) power play — with seven goals in 21 chances so far. And they scored three of their four goals on the man advantage in this most recent series. And sophomore winger Gerry Fitzgerald’s team-high sixth goal of the season (he’s scored in all five games) is tied for second in the country right now.
The problem? BSU gave up two shorthanded goals to the Mavericks and couldn’t get one 5-on-5 aside from the first goal on Friday. The Beavers lost a 2-1 third-period lead in game one and were tied going into the final frame in game two (they were also tied with North Dakota going into the third last weekend in Grand Forks). The Beavers have talent, as their early season results have shown, but they need to find ways to win more of these one-goal games if they’re going to have success.
It’s splitsville for three Upper Peninsula rivals
Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State have spent much of the early season playing one anther. Tech and Northern split their home-and-home series this past weekend (with each winning on their own home ice). The Wildcats and Lakers did the same two weeks ago, with NMU winning in Marquette and Lake State winning in Sault Ste. Marie (that one was a nonconference series). The only teams which haven’t met yet are the Lakers and the Huskies (they play for the first time in December). All three teams have two wins. It will be interesting to see if all three can continue their strong play against teams outside the UP.