There’s nothing like a five-goal loss as a heavy favorite to get a team’s attention.
Minnesota State Mankato, which entered the weekend as the nation’s No. 2-ranked team, rebounded from a listless effort a day earlier to defeat Bemidji State 2-0 for third place in the Mariucci Classic on Sunday afternoon at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
The Mavericks, drubbed 7-2 by St. Cloud State in the all-Minnesota tournament Saturday, were engaged from the get-go Sunday. Marc Michaelis scored 3:10 into a dominant first period and Reggie Lutz added a goal at 18:21 for the Mavericks (16-3-1), who outshot the Beavers 15-4 and owned a 33-7 edge in scoring attempts in the opening 20 minutes.
“We had a good start tonight,’’ Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said. “Last game we had to play from behind. This was a really good first 20 minutes.’’
That start was more than enough offense for goalie Dryden McKay, who made 18 saves for his nation-leading fifth shutout of the season.
Theis came a day after he gave up five goals on 14 shots to St. Cloud State.
“Men against boys in the first period,’’ Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. “… There were some angry Mavericks out there, that’s for sure.’’
Though Bemidji State played a more even second period — Minnesota State outshot BSU only 9-8 in the stanza — the Beavers got only six shots on goal in the third as the Mavericks controlled the puck. When Minnesota State took a penalty with 3:59 to play and Bemidji State pulled goalie Henry Johnson for an extra attacker, the Beavers didn’t get a shot on goal, thanks to six blocked shots by the Mavericks’ penalty kill.
The Beavers-Mavericks matchup was the first of five between the teams this regular season, one more than either coach would have liked.
“Tommy and I were talking before the game, and neither of us were hoping to see each other this weekend, and it’s not because we don’t like each other. … “ Hastings said. “Both of us earned our way to this game.’’