Who: No. 5 Minnesota State at Northern Michigan
When: 3:07 p.m.
Where: Berry Events Center (capacity 4,260); Marquette, Mich.
Records: MSU 1-0-0 WCHA, 4-1-1 overall; Northern Michigan 0-1-0, 2-3-0
Noteworthy: MSU seeks its first series sweep of the season today.
What happened: MSU scored four goals in the first 13:20 of the game en route to the 5-0 blowout. Five players scored once each for the Mavericks — Jared Spooner, Nathan Smith, Cade Borchardt, Julian Napravnik and Dallas Gerads — and 10 players had at least one point. Dryden McKay recorded a 16-save shutout, his third of the season and 17th of his career, moving him into a tie for eighth all-time on the NCAA career shutout list with Minnesota Duluth’s Hunter Shepherd. MSU scored three power-play goals and went 3-for-6 with the man advantage.
3 Takeaways from Saturday
1. Mavs use Olympic ice to their advantage. Minnesota State’s depth and speed was evident throughout Saturday’s 5-0 victory. The Mavericks had more room to move and spread out an overmatched Northern Michigan team. That was especially evident on the power play, where MSU moved the puck quickly and effectively and got the Wildcats scrambling. The Mavs went 3-for-6 on the power play.
2. Lock-down D. Playing good defense doesn’t always mean excelling in your own end of the rink. The Mavericks showed that over the final two periods Saturday, when they held Northern Michigan to six total shots. The Wildcats had just one shot on goal in the second period. On a big ice sheet, MSU took away time and space, never letting Northern get sustained pressure. On the rare occasion the Wildcats got a good look, McKay was there to shut the door. Northern entered the game averaging 29.5 shots on goal per game. It managed 16 on Saturday.
3. Smith finally breaks through. MSU head coach Mike Hastings has been raving about Smith since the season started. The sophomore forward from Tampa, Fla., has been among the team’s best forwards in all six of their games, but it hadn’t translated to the stat sheet. At least not until Saturday. Smith had three points going into the game. He scored his first goal, on a power play, 7:49 into the game. Just 2:54 later he assisted on Borchardt’s fourth goal of the season, giving MSU a 3-0 lead. Just 2:37 after that, Smith set up Napravnik’s third goal in three games. In a span of 5:31, Smith doubled his season points total. He had other opportunities for more points Saturday that just missed. Perhaps the floodgates have opened for MSU’s second-leading returning scorer from a year ago.
Records: Minnesota State 1-0-0 WCHA, 4-1-1 overall; Northern Michigan 0-1-0, 2-3-0
National ranking: MSU No. 5 USCHO.com poll, No. 5 USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll; Northern Michigan is unranked
Goals per game (national rank): MSU 3.17 (16th); NMU 3.0 (T-17th)
Goals against per game (national rank): MSU 1.33 (2nd); NMU 4.20 (44th)
Power play (national rank): MSU 6-for-19, 31.6 pct. (1st); NMU 4-for-15, 26.7 pct. (T-11th)
Penalty kill (national rank): MSU 17-for-20, 85.0 pct. (12th); NMU 15-for-19, 78.9 pct. (31st)
Shots on goal per game (national rank): MSU 37.17 (3rd); NMU 26.8 (35th)
Shots allowed per game (national rank): MSU 20.67 (1st); 33.0 (36th)
Around the WCHA
- Bemidji State 4, No. 19 Lake Superior State 1: Lake Superior State's stay in the national top 20 poll may not last long. The No. 19-ranked Lakers gave up three third-period goals, including two empty-netters in the final minute in a loss to Bemidji State. BSU's Zach Driscoll stopped 30 shots in the win and Mankato native Kyle Looft, a sophomore defenseman for BSU, scored his first college goal.
- No. 7 Bowling Green 6, Ferris State 1: Bowling Green scored four third-period goals to break the game open, including two in a span of 21 seconds in the first half of the final period. Cameron Wright had two goals and an assist to lead the Falcons, who are the first team in the country to reach 10 wins (10-1-0).
- Michigan Tech 4, Alabama Huntsville 0: Tech scored three times in the second period to take the lead for good. Four different players scored for the Huskies, who outshot the Chargers 30-18.