ST. CLOUD — Earlier this week, Minnesota State men’s hockey coach Mike Hastings expressed some concern about his team falling behind in three of its first four games.The Mavericks came from behind to tie two of those and win another, but “We’re about out of bullets,” Hastings said.
In their Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener on Friday at the National Hockey Center, the Mavericks didn’t even have their guns.
St. Cloud State’s talented top-liners roamed freely around the rink, and the Huskies won the game 5-1. It was the first loss of the season for MSU.
“Call it what it is,” Hastings said. “On the road, in this league, there just wasn’t enough push-back from Minnesota State tonight. We got punched in the nose, and we let them keep punching.”
St. Cloud senior Ben Hanowski was untouched as he scored the game’s first two goals —one on a power play and the other on a breakaway — and he nearly had a natural hat trick if not for Phil Cook’s pad save on the winger standing all alone at the goal-mouth.
Hanowski’s center, Drew LeBlanc, finished with a four-point game, scoring a goal and assisting on three others.
“We didn’t have energy; we didn’t do what we needed to do,” MSU defenseman and captain Tyler Elbrecht said. “We need to change that.”
Hanowski gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead at the 11:24 mark of the first period. Just 34 seconds after the breakaway goal, Nic Dowd blasted a one-timer past Cook from the left circle to make it a three-goal game.
Hastings called his timeout after that goal but left Cook in the game. St. Cloud State outshot MSU 11-3 in the opening period.
“People call (hockey) a contact sport, but it’s not a contact sport. It’s a collision sport,” Hastings said. “We didn’t collide with anybody in another jersey in the first period. Obviously, we weren’t in the right frame of mind, and that’s my responsibility.”
Both teams took major penalties in the second period and neither was able to score. During their five-minute power play, the Mavericks thought they had chipped into the Huskies’ lead during a mad scramble in front of goalie Ryan Faragher.
A goal that likely would have been credited to Chase Grant was awarded on the ice but taken off the scoreboard upon a replay review.
The second period ended up scoreless, but St. Cloud State quickly put the game out of reach on Kalle Kossila’s goal just 83 seconds into the third period. LeBlanc scored his goal in the game’s final minute. The senior has 10 point in eight career games against MSU.
The Mavericks finally got on the board with 11:07 to play in the game on a goal by senior defenseman Evan Mosey.
St. Cloud State outshot MSU 28-25. Cook finished with 23 saves. Faragher had 24, including 12 while the Mavericks were on the power play.
The Mavericks and the Huskies will play again at 7:07 p.m. today. It will be the final regular-season meeting between the two teams as WCHA opponents.
Minnesota State 0-0-1—1
St. Cloud State 3-0-2—5
Scoring: 1. SCSU-Hanowski 2 (Dowd 5, LeBlanc 5) ppg 7:34; 2. SCSU-Hanowski 3 (LeBlanc 6) 14:48; 3. SCSU-Dowd 3 (Jensen 4, Holka 1) 15:22
Penalties: Mosey, MSU (cross-checking) 6:13; Grant, MSU (interference) 11:24
Penalties: Hayes, MSU, major (charging) 1:00; Prow, SCSU (tripping) 6:40; Gravel, SCSU, major/game-misconduct (checking from behind) 7:32; Knowles, MSU (slashing) 16:50
Scoring: 4. SCSU-Kossila 2 (LeBlanc 7, Bertsch 1) 1:23; 5. MSU-Mosey 1 (Grant 2, Knowles 2) 8:53; 6. SCSU-LeBlanc 2 (Kossila 3) 19:12
Penalties: Grant, MSU (boarding) 11:32; Hayes, MSU (roughing) 16:58; Oliver, SCSU (holding the stick, roughing) 16:58
Shots on goal: MSU 3-11-11—25. SCSU 11-9-8—28. Penalties: MSU 6 for 15 minutes; SCSU 5 for 21 minutes. Power-play opportunities. MSU 0 of 3; SCSU 1 of 5. Goalie saves: MSU Cook 8-9-6—23; SCSU Faragher 3-11-10—24.
MSU timeout at 15:22 of first period. SCSU timeout at 11:32 of third period.
Referees: Derek Shepherd, Marco Hunt. Linesemen: Nick Bradshaw, Sam Shikowsky.