Mankato, MN – Coach Motzko has stressed the importance of good goaltender play if the team is to have success this season. He’s also showered his defensive unit with praise stating it’s the most depth he’s had at this position since he took over the helm at SCSU. Both were instrumental in a hard-fought 4-0 road win vs the WCHA’s top team in Mankato on Saturday, October 7. Smith stopped all 42 shots he faced and junior defensemen Jimmy Schuldt and Jon Lizotte led the offense with goals in the non-conference win over the Mavericks.
However, the score is not indicative of the battle. In an extremely physical contest, the Mavericks perhaps forced the Huskies into a more physical contest than the Huskies typically play but they adjusted well, scored some timely goals and won by a four-goal margin despite a disadvantage in shots 42-26. A crushing hit on Jack Ahcan in the first period had him limping off the ice but he returned to steamroll MSU’s captain Max Coatta along the sidewall 1:21 later setting the tone for a game intervened little by the officials with only four penalties whistled the entire 60 minutes.
With SCSU’s Blake Winiecki and MSU’s Clint Lewis both whistled for cross-checking the Huskies scored their first goal at 11:46 of period one. Jimmy Schuldt (Peterson | Newell) took a feed from Judd Peterson and Schuldt fired a rocket that beat the Maverick’s goaltender Pawloski top shelf for a 1-0 SCSU lead. In a tight, physical first period, the Mavericks outshot SCSU 11-9.
Jon Lizotte extended the Huskies lead by two goals at 3:05 of the second period. Impressive first-year forward Kevin Fitzgerald hit Lizotte with a pass inside the blueline and Lizotte skated uncontested towards the goal and picked his spot beating Pawloski with a wrist shot for the two-goal lead. Jake Wahlin was credited with the second assist on the play. Minnesota State again outshot the Huskies 15-12 in the period.
With the Mavericks continuing to attack, the Huskies gained an extra margin of security with a goal by Jacob Benson ( R Poehling | Jimmy Schuldt) at 11:08 of the third period. Poehling found Benson with a pass and he fired it from between the circles that beat Pawlowski glove side for a much-needed three goal lead. With nothing to lose the Mavericks pulled their goaltender for an extra skater with 5:15 remaining but despite applying a great deal of pressure and Smith making some key saves, they yielded an empty net goal to Jack Poehling at 17:55 to salt the game away. With the extra attacker, MSU outshot the Huskies 16-5 in the third period but the defense and Smith held firm in the 4-0 win.
For the game, the Mavericks outshot the Huskies 42-26. In an outstanding effort, Jeff Smith stopped all 42 MSU shots on goal while counterpart, Jason Pawloski turned aside 22 of 25 shots on goal. In a game devoid of penalties, the Huskies were 0 for 1 on the man-advantage as was the Mavericks.
Stars of the Game: #1 Jeff Smith (SCSU) #2 Jimmy Schuldt (SCSU) #3 Charlie Gerard (MSU)