A tight matchup turned ugly as Minnesota State beat UAH 4-1 on Saturday night at the Von Braun Center.
The Mavericks scored two power-play goals after back-to-back checking from behind major penalties to the Chargers. Those turned a tight 2-1 game into a breather for the Mavericks’ seventh straight victory. MSU won the first game Friday night also by a 4-1 score.
Frank Misuraca and Ben Reinhardt got the major penalties, which automatically come with game misconducts. Misuraca’s hit came on Brett Knowles with 6:47 left in the game, and Reinhardt’s was on Nashville Predators prospect Zach Stepan just 37 seconds later. Both Mavericks were slow to get up and had to be helped off the ice.
Minnesota State captain Johnny McInnis took exception to the hit on Knowles and started jawing at the UAH bench. He drew a minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but it was indicative of how ugly the game got.
The game was loaded with penalties through out, with several minors in the first two periods. UAH had 11 penalties total for 44 minutes, and Minnesota State had nine for 29 minutes.
Minnesota State came out firing, notching the first 10 shots on goal for the game before UAH got its first. The Mavericks outshot the Chargers 14-6 for the period, despite UAH having four power plays to MSU’s two. The Chargers even had 50 seconds of two-man advantage, but could not get much rubber on Mavericks goalie and Islanders prospect Stephon Williams.
The Mavericks tested UAH net minder Carmine Guerriero in their two power plays, including a four-shot-on-goal barrage in their first advantage.
The beginning of the second period mimicked the first period, with the Mavericks firing away and dominating possession. The difference was that they were able to break through with two goals. Johnny McInnis passed from the slot to JP Lafontaine, who buried the puck past Guerriero for a 1-0 lead at the 1:53 mark.
Six minutes later, Jordan Nelson put in a rebound for a 2-0 Maverick advantage. He was assisted by Brett Knowles and Max Gaede.
Chad Brears fired the puck from the right point, and Brandon Clowes deflected it past Williams for his first goal of the season and cut Minnesota State’s lead to 2-1. Frank Misuraca also assisted on the play.
Like the night before, the Chargers found themselves down one with a period to go. But after the checking from behind majors, the game got away from UAH.
Matt Leitner, who would get his own contact to the head major and game misconduct for a hit on Brent Fletcher with 2:18 to go, scored the first goal during the major power play to make it 3-1. Chase Grant followed up just under a minute later for the final score.
Guerriero finished with a season-high 42 saves.
The Chargers get next weekend off before heading to Wisconsin for a two-game series on Dec. 27-28. UAH returns home on Jan. 3-4 to face Bowling Green in a WCHA rematch.