Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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MSU Mankato's top returning scorers not scoring goals

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Wisconsin, MS-Mankato, WCHA news Updated: October 31, 2012 - 2:23 PM

The Gophers plays Minnesota State Mankato this weekend in a home and home series.

The Mavericks are off to a 2-2-2 start after being swept by St. Cloud State last  weekend in two 5-1 games. The scores were the same, but the games not.

On Friday at the National Hockey Center, St. Cloud State took a 3-0 lead in the first period. On Saturday, it was a 1-0 game into the third period when the Huskies scored two quick goals in the third period.

Hopes were high in Mankato for this team, loaded with young, promising forwards. But two of them are not scoring goals.

Matt Leitner, a sophomore center from Los Alamitos, CA.,  led the Mavericks in assists and points last season. He had 11 goals, 18 assists and 29 points. But in six games so far, he has one goal and five assists for six points.

Jean-Paul LaFontaine was a member of the WCHA all-rookie team last season and tied for the team lead in goals and was second in points. He had 13 goals -- eighth on the power play -- 15 assists and 28 points. He has one assist this season. He was the left wing on the Mavericks' second line in their last game.

LaFontaine's uncle Pat was an NHL Hall of Famer, he played for both New York teams and Buffalo. So he has the blood lines.

Another intriguing prospect up front is freshman Teddy Blueger, from Riga, Latvia. He has one goal and two assists and is a plus-4. Pittsburgh took him in the second round of the 2012 NHL draft.

The two goals last weekend MSU scored were both by senior defenseman Evan Mosey, one was short-handed.

First-year head coach Mike Hastings was the associate head coach at Nebraska Omaha the past three seasons and before that was a Gophers assistant for one season. ... Eight of his 27 players are from Minnesota.

* The Gophers lead the all-time series with MSU 30-7-6, but the Mavericks were on a 5-1-0 roll until losing twice to the Gophers last season.

* The Mavericks have outshot opponents 218-169. Last weekend the Huskies had a 28-23 edge in shots the first night, the Mavericks outshot SCSU 38-30 the second. ... MSU has outscored opponents 10-8 in the third period.

* Special teams is one problem area for Hastings. Opponents are eight for 28 on the power play, or 28.6 percent. Too high. The Mavericks are four for 27 with a man advantage, 14.8 percent. Too low.

* Leitner's wings are sophomore Chase Grant, who has three goals and two assists, and freshman Bryce Gervais, who has one assist. Gervais was a teammate of Gophers Mike and Ryan Reilly on the Penticton Vees in the BCHL last season. The Vees won the Junior A national title in Canada.

WISCONSIN FORWARD HURT

Wisconsin freshman Nic Kerdiles was given permission to play for the under-18 U.S. national development team even though he was under NCAA suspension for 10 games for violating amateur rules.

That looked like a big positive for him. Well, it has not turned out so well. Kerdiles played against the Gophers in a 2-2 overtime tie, but sprained one of his knees the next night in an exhibition game against the University of St. Thomas. So he won't be skating for a while but probably should be ready when the Badgers play at Denver on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and his suspension is lifted.

 

 

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