Forty-five seconds remained in an empty Mariucci Arena and Minnesota State fans started chanting “M-S-U” towards the last home fans quickly leaving the building.

They had a good reason. It was a night where the Gophers, as Minnesota head coach Bob Motzko put it, “weren’t a good hockey team tonight.” 

A pair of opening-minute goals in successive periods and a quick response following Minnesota’s lone goal helped lead the No. 4 Mavericks past No. 8/10 Minnesota 5-1 on Friday.

Minnesota State (6-1-0, 0-0-0-0 WCHA) head coach Mike Hastings decided earlier in the day to start senior goaltender Mathias Israelsson following a good week of practice. Israelsson made of the most of his opportunity, stopping 24 shots and keeping the Gophers off the board when the home team had multiple opportunities in the second period.

“When you’re in this building, and I’ve been on both benches, things can start running downhill on you in a hurry,” said Hastings, who served as an assistant to Don Lucia for one season. “He made a couple saves that stopped that from happening.”

Instead, it was the home team who saw things run downhill. Dallas Gerads got the Mavericks on the board 5:56 into Friday’s game when he split a couple Minnesota (1-2-1, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) players and beat goaltender Mat Robson.

Brent Gates Jr. responded with his second power-play goal in as many games before Charlie Gerard put Minnesota State ahead for good less than a minute later.

The Mavericks took advantage of turnovers and mistakes in both the start of the second and third periods. Nick Rivera and Marc Michaelis, who finished with four points, each finished on plays in front of the net to put the game out of reach as frustration set in for the Gophers.

“It was a mix of frustration and guys getting down. There was no energy, there was no fight to come back. It seemed like we were disappointed in our effort. All of us,” said Gates. “After that point, the good thing is that we get to come back tomorrow.”

Michaelis added a second goal, picking the pocket of Clayton Phillips and going around goaltender Eric Schierhorn, who came out of his net near the blue line in a failed attempt to stop the puck.

With his team trailing 4-1, Motzko made the decision to put in Schierhorn for his first meaningful action midway through the third period. He said after the game it wasn’t an indictment on starter Robson, who finished with 17 saves, but rather an opportunity to get the senior meaningful minutes.

“We didn’t invent the spot we’re in right now. The spot we’re in right now is not good. We didn’t invent this. Sports teams go through this, but many, many teams find a way to dig themselves out. If we’re going to play a frustrated game and look and have a frustrated feel, that’s now how you work yourself out,” he said. “I said (to the team), ‘put everything from this game in the garbage can and come back tomorrow.’ Let’s have a better effort.”

After a night where the visitors got the last chant, the home-and-home series shifts to Mankato on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.


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