The men’s hockey team slept in their own beds on campus after a 3-2 win versus Minnesota State-Mankato. They woke up today and boarded a bus to the Maverick’s hometown for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at the Verizon Wireless Center.
These two Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams are in need of wins in their own ways, but the home team has all the pressure.
Don Lucia will bring his squad in to the series finale with a 5-1-0 overall record, 2-1-0 in the WCHA. Their 3-2 win yesterday evening at Mariucci Arena came with some adversity.
The Gophers trailed twice, but battled back to earn the victory. All three Minnesota goals came on the power play. The final tally came on a third period goal by captain Zach Budish at the 5:40 mark of the game’s final stanza.
MSM has yet to win in the WCHA this season. All three of their conference games have been on the road and the sight and smell of their home building has to be a pleasant change.
Senior goaltender Phil Cook made 29 saves last night in the loss and the eighteen minutes of penalties the Mavericks took in front of him didn’t help keep the power play shots against him down.
Mankato will need to improve upon those numbers as well as find scoring from someone.
One Maverick who scored in last night’s game may have an inside track to scoring again tonight; Sophomore defenseman Zach Palmquist is a South St. Paul, Minn. native and played high school hockey with Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox.
Palmquist was a senior and Wilcox was a sophomore when they last played together for the SSP Packers. Back then, Palmquist did plenty to protect Wilcox in the nets as the blue liner blocked dozens of shots and led the Packers in scoring that year.
Now Palmquist and the Mavericks need to find a way out of a slump and get a big home win.
Odds are that the undefeated Wilcox will get another start for the Gophers between the pipes and it will be a tough road to hoe for the purple cows.
PREDICTION: 4-2 win for the Maroon and Gold
After the game, follow the crowd and head down to South Front Street. If your hungry, get some pizza at Pagliai’s. If your thirsty, try and find a seat at the Blue Bricks or Pub 500.