Hockey splits series with Minnesota State

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons hockey team split their road series with the Minnesota State Mavericks over the weekend, winning on Friday night 3-2 in overtime before falling 5-3 on Saturday night.

“I thought we played well in the series overall,” Falcons Head Coach Chris Bergeron said. “Our competition level, our energy and our intensity, the things that we can control, things that make us a tough team to play against, I thought that’s where we were the best.”

Friday’s game began with Minnesota State taking the lead at the 14:25 mark of the first period, however, the Falcons responded at 7:57 of the second period with senior forward Kevin Dufour scoring to tie the game at 1-1. Minnesota State took the lead again at 17:04, but the Falcons tied it again with another Dufour goal under two minutes later.

“In hindsight, it was a big goal,” Bergeron said of the goal at the end of the second period. “To go into the third, down 2-1, would have been disappointing because we deserved better, we played a good period and we had some good chances.”

In the third period, both teams went scoreless, sending the game into overtime. At the 3:55 mark of the overtime period, junior forward Mitch McLain scored his Western Collegiate Hockey Association-leading 15th goal of the season, giving the Falcons the 3-2 overtime victory.

“I thought that the intensity and our energy was really good,” Bergeron said. “We talked about that the last two days in particular, that I think it’s something that you can control, and I think it’s something that when we’re at our best, we’re doing … The first period wasn’t as much us being bad as it was them being really good, but our guys were competitive and they were defending.”

On Saturday, Minnesota State took advantage of an early power play opportunity to go up 1-0 at the 2:16 mark of the first period. The Falcons responded at 4:46 with a goal from senior defenseman Sean Walker. The team then took the lead at 15:03 with senior forward Matt Pohlkamp scoring to give the team a 2-1 lead going into the second period. In the second period, the team increased their lead to 3-1 on a power play goal from Walker at 4:26. Minnesota State then cut the lead at 14:29, making it a 3-2 game after two periods. In the third period, Minnesota State scored on the power play at 7:54, tying the game at three goals apiece, then taking the lead less than two minutes later. The Falcons were be unable to respond, as Minnesota State scored an empty net goal with 37 seconds remaining in the game to seal the 5-3 victory.

“I think the goal at the end of the second period created some momentum for them,” Bergeron said. “I thought we played a decent third period for the first little bit, but they’ve won championships for a reason, they’re a really good team, they’re a proud bunch and going into the third they were a period away from getting swept at home and they just kept fighting.”

The team will play their next game at home on Friday and Saturday night against the Alaska Nanooks.