MANKATO, Minn. - Two goals by Minnesota State in both the second and third periods lifted the Mavericks to a 4-2 victory over Lake Superior State in Saturday evening's Western Collegiate Hockey Association contest.
The Lakers (11-13-3, 8-10-3 WCHA) claimed the first goal of the game late in the first period as freshman Luke Morgan scored with 1:48 remaining in the period for the fifth goal of his rookie campaign. Linemates J.T. Henke and Anthony Nellis each added assists on the goal by Morgan, his fifth point in the Lakers' last three games.
Despite trailing in shots on goal 12-5, the Lakers took a 1-0 lead into the break after the first 20 minutes of play.
Out of the intermission, the Mavericks (15-9-3, 11-7-3 WCHA) quickly tied the game 41 seconds in on Zach Stephan's fourth goal of the season. Two minutes later, MSU claimed their first lead of the game on an unassisted goal by Sean Flanagan to claim a 2-1 advantage.
Midway through the second period, LSSU sophomore Josh Nenadal tipped in a shot by Ryan Renz, past Mavericks goaltender Cole Huggins to tie the game. Nellis picked up his second point of the night and 12th helper of the season on the play.
Both teams skated through the final 10:35 of the second period knotted at 2-2 while the Mavericks increased their shots on goal advantage to 23-14 after 40 minutes.
Parker Tuomie opened the final period with a goal from the top of the faceoff circle off the draw, lifting the puck above Gordon Defiel's shoulder to put the Mavericks ahead 3-2. Flanagan picked up his second point of the night with an assist while Josh French tallied his first of two assists on the game.
With 10:06 remaining in the third period, Brad McClure cut through the slot in a 2-on-2 fast break and put MSU ahead 4-2 with a shot over Defiel's blocker. French notched his second assist of the game and Clint Lewis also factored in with the secondary assist.
A pair of Mavericks penalties 29 seconds apart with under five minutes remaining in regulation gave the Lakers late life but the visitors were unable to capitalize on the two-man advantage, suffering a 4-2 loss in the series opener.
Huggins made 20 saves, earning his first victory in net for the Mavericks during the second half of the season. Defiel registered 30 saves in the loss and now holds an 11-11-3 record on the season.
Despite the loss, the Lakers retained fifth place in the WCHA standings with help from a late collapse by seventh-place Ferris State at home against Bowling Green on Friday night. The Bulldogs remain two points behind the Lakers in the standings, while fifth-place Alaska trails the Lakers by one point and sits idle on a bye week.
The teams conclude the series at 8:07 p.m. ET on Saturday.