This one was more methodical, though no less effective.

In fact, though it didn't dominate the statistics as thoroughly as it did the night before, Minnesota State's performance in a 4-0 WCHA men's hockey victory at Northern Michigan on Sunday may have been an even better performance than it generated in Saturday's five-goal victory over the Wildcats.

No. 5-ranked MSU (5-1-1) knew it would face a motivated Wildcats team on Sunday, after the Mavericks scored four first-period goals in Saturday's 5-0 win.

Certainly, Northern Michigan played a better game on Sunday, but so did MSU.

The Mavericks continued their dominant play on special teams and once again spread out their scoring to earn their first sweep of the 2020-21 season and improve to 2-0-0 in WCHA play. MSU held the Wildcats scoreless on five power-play opportunities Sunday, after the Wildcats went 0-for-3 on Saturday.

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Dryden McKay
Dryden McKay

Junior goaltender Dryden McKay was a big part of that penalty kill, stopping 21 shots and recording his fourth shutout of the year and 18th of his already storied MSU career. McKay's four shutouts this year are tied for the fifth-most in a season in MSU history, and his 18th career shutout moved him into seventh place in NCAA history, tied with Cornell's David McKee, who had 18 between 2004-06. The WCHA record for career shutouts is 21, held by Bemidji State's Michael Bitzer; the NCAA record is 26, set by Michigan State's Ryan Miller in 2002.

MSU last recorded back-to-back shutouts on Feb. 21-22, last season, against Alabama Huntsville, beating the Chargers 10-0 and 8-0 in Mankato.

McKay improved to 5-1-0 this season with the win. He has allowed a total of six goals this year and will take a 124-minute, 31-second shutout streak into a series against Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato.

Tech will also enter next weekend's games on the emotional high of a WCHA sweep after it beat Alabama-Huntsville 4-0 and 2-1 over the weekend.

McKay, who improved to 59-11-4 in his college career, only needed one goal on Sunday, but his teammates gave him more.

The Mavericks went 2-for-3 on the power play in the game -- and 5-for-8 in the series -- as Cade Borchardt scored his fifth goal of the season and Todd Burgess notched his second. Borchardt scored the lone goal of the first period, and Burgess notched the only goal of the second.

Freshman defenseman Akito Hirose flashed the playmaking ability that made him a sought-after recruit in his days in the British Columbia Hockey League, scoring his first college goal with 4:26 to play the game. His heavy wrist shot from the right circle beat Wildcats goalie Nolan Kent (21 saves) to his glove side and made it 3-0 MSU. Hirose also had an assist on Burgess' goal, giving the young blue-liner seven points in his first seven college games.

Junior forward Julian Napravnik added two assists to tie Borchardt for the team lead with eight points.

Ryan Sandelin tacked on an empty-net goal with 1:10 to play.

Northern Michigan dropped to 0-2-0 in the WCHA and 2-4-0 overall. The Wildcats host No. 19-ranked Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday.

Minnesota State 4, Northern Michigan 0

Minnesota State 1 1 2 — 4

Northern Michigan 0 0 0 — 0

First period — 1. MSU, Cade Borchardt 5 (Nathan Smith 6, Julian Napravnik 3) 6:47 (pp). Second period — 2. MSU, Todd Burgess 2 (Reggie Lutz 4, Akito Hirose 6) 10:20 (pp). Third period — 3. MSU, Hirose 1 (Napravnik 4) 15:34. 4. MSU, Ryan Sandelin 2 (Jake Livingstone 1) 18:50 (en).

Shots on goal — MSU 4-16-5—25; NMU 8-5-8—21. Goalies — MSU, Dryden McKay (W, 5-1-0; 21 saves-21 shots); NMU, Nolan Kent (L, 0-2-0; 21 saves-24 shots). Power-play opportunities — MSU 2-for-3; NMU 0-for-5. Penalties — MSU, 6-12 minutes; NMU, 4-8 minutes.