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Top-ranked Mavericks mash Bulldogs, 7-0

Minnesota State University-Mankato scores 6 goals in the second period, cruises past Ferris State for CCHA series sweep.

UMD MINN STATE M PUX
innesota State forward Julian Napravnik (15) looks to pass the puck against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday Jan., 1, 2022, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

MANKATO, Minn. —Ferris State gave its new goaltender a tough task on Saturday night: Make your NCAA Division I college debut on the road against the No. 1 team in the country.

Noah Giesbrecht transferred over the semester break from University of Windsor, where he put up very good numbers in the Canadian college league for half a season.

After one period of play he must have thought: “This ain’t so hard,” as he stopped all 18 shots Minnesota State peppered on him in a scoreless first period.

Then the second period began.

The Mavericks turned their dial up to 11 and scored four goals in the frame’s first 2:39, before going on to win 7-0 for a CCHA series sweep. It was the ninth victory in a row for Minnesota State, who has outscored opponents 35-6 over that span, including 14-1 this weekend against the Bulldogs.

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“We played a really good first period,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. “I thought their goaltender was really good, and they defended with a bit of an edge. We had some pretty good looks. The guys stuck with it. … I’m glad the guys didn’t get frustrated with it.”

Julian Napravnik and Zach Krajnik each finished with two goals, and Nathan Smith had a goal and two assists. Sam Morton and Josh Groll also had goals for the Mavericks. Akito Hirose assisted on two goals.

Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay stopped 17 shots, improving his NCAA career shutout record to 32. It was his eighth shutout of the season.

Napravnik was the first to break through the Giesbrecht wall, scoring just 13 seconds into the second period. Morton made it 2-0 at 1:38, and, 12 seconds later, before the scoring could be announced to the crowd of 4,032 at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center, Groll tucked a puck in at the left post from behind the goal.

“We were doing the right things (in the first period),” Krajnik said. “We just tweaked a few things like getting guys to the net.”

The three goals, one each by the Mavericks’ first three forward lines, came in a span of 97 seconds. Krajnik, a fourth-line left wing, then scored his first college goal, for four goals in 2:26.

“For every line to score in the first 2 ½ minutes was great to get us going,” said Krajnik, a freshman from Eagle River, Alaska.

The Mavericks, who finished with 43 shots on goal, scored six times on 16 shots in the middle frame. Napravnik and Smith scored into gaping nets after defensemen Hirose and Jack McNeely, respectively, set up their teammates with some deceptive passes after getting the Bulldogs’ goalie to overcommit.

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Krajnik scored the lone goal of the third period.

Krajnik has played sporadically in his first year, getting in 13 of 24 games as he’s tried to get a foothold on a deep roster. He had two assists in Friday’s 7-1 win for a four-point weekend.

“He’s been playing good hockey for us,” Hastings said.

Said Krajnik: “The biggest thing is just sticking with it. A prime example is (junior forward) Cade Borchardt. He played 10 games as a freshman, and then his sophomore year he lit it up.”

As for the Mavericks’ top line, the center, Smith, finished the series with six points (two goals, four assists) and leads the nation in scoring with 33 points in 22 games. Napravnik scored three goals in the set and also assisted on a goal. He has 25 points in 20 games.

“(Napravnik) is playing confidently right now,” Hastings said. “Julian can think it at an extra level. He can play really quick and really fast because of the way he thinks it. … Julian is starting to be a driver on that line.”

MSU-Mankato 7, Ferris State 0

Ferris State 0-0-0—0

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Minnesota State 0-6-1—7

First period scoring — None. Penalties: None.

Second period scoring — 1. MSU, Napravnik 9 (Smith 19) :13; 2. MSU, Morton 4 (Zmolek 4, Sandelin 8) 1:38; 3. MSU, Groll 4 (unassisted) 1:50; 4. MSU, Krajnik 1 (Carroll 8, Gregga 2) 2:39; 5. MSU, Napravnik 10 (Hirose 12, Smith 20) ppg 11:06; 6. MSU, Smith 13 (McNeely 7, Hirose 13) 14:42. Penalties: Furry, MSU (goaltender interference) 5:27; Tulik, FSU (boarding) 10:26

Third period scoring —7. MSU, Krajnik 2 (Pavel 3) 11:59. Penalties: Deelstra, FSU (tripping) 2:00; Aamodt, MSU (boarding) 18:12.

Shots on goal: FSU 3-8-6—17; MSU 18-16-10—44.

Penalties: FSU 2 for 4 minutes; MSU 2 for 4 minutes. Power plays: FSU 0 for 2; MSU 1 for 2. Goalie saves: FSU Giesbrecht 18-10-9—37 (7 GA); MSU McKay 3-8-6—17 (0 GA)

Attendance: 4,032.

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