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Minnesota State Tops Bowling Green 4-0

Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings has led the Mavericks to back-to-back WCHA titles.
Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings has led the Mavericks to back-to-back WCHA titles.
Matt Christians/SBN College Hockey

After a tense, tight first period, Minnesota State got a pair of power play goals in the second period, and eventually pulled away in the third period with two more goals to take a decisive 4-0 victory in the first game of their weekend series hosting the WCHA’s other top team in Bowling Green.

Here was the final scoring:

First Period

None

Second Period

12:45 Nathan Smith from Jake Livingstone and Julian Napravnik (power play) 1-0 Minnesota State

On a 3-on-2 rush, Livingstone made a cross ice pass to Smith coming down the left wing and Smith fired the one-timer into the net.

18:00 Dallas Gerads from Riese Zmolek and Jake Livingstone (power play) 2-0 Minnesota State

During a major power play, Minnesota State worked the puck around the perimeter before Zmolek found a shooting lane and Gerads was able to get a tip in front of the net that eluded Dop.

Third Period

8:46 Walker Duehr from Andy Carroll and Akito Hirose 3-0 Minnesota State

Hirose skated the puck deep into the Bowling Green zone and got the puck to Carroll at the left point. Carroll cycled the puck down below the goal line where Duehr picked it up, circled to the front of the net and scored.

11:51 Riese Zmolek from Julian Napravnik and Wyatt Aamodt 4-0 Minnesota State

Zmolek picked up the puck at the right point and weaved through the Bowling Green defense to beat Dop with a move to his backhand.

Notes and Thoughts:

-The first period started with what I think a lot of people were hoping for out of this series, which was a really good, back-and-forth hockey game. After a quick early whistle, the two teams went eight straight minutes of play without a whistle.

The difference ultimately came down to special teams. The Mavericks were able to convert on two power play chances in the second period, and Bowling Green wasn’t able to make a push to get back into the game in the third period.

-As silly as this sounds on a night when Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay moved into a tie for second place for most shutouts in NCAA history, I thought tonight was a really important opportunity for Minnesota State to prove how well they can defend. Of course the Mavericks have only allowed 15 goals in 13 games so far this season, but before tonight, I don’t think they had played anyone that had the talent to seriously pressure the Mavericks. Bowling Green is a legit tourney contender with a pretty strong offense. With no non-conference games this season, Minnesota State isn’t going to get many tests and they certainly passed it tonight with a very strong defensive effort.

-The second period was defined by a major penalties called on each team.

Here’s the first, where Minnesota State’s Reggie Lutz speared Sam Craggs:

That is bad enough that the league may look at it for supplemental discipline for tomorrow’s games.

Here’s the second, where Bowling Green’s Alex Barber was tossed for checking from behind:

Definitely a check from behind. Maybe borderline as a major, but especially after one was called the other way, I wasn’t surprised it was upgraded to a five.