After sweeping Minnesota State in Mankato on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, the Bulldogs found themselves swept by the Mavericks in Big Rapids this weekend.
The Bulldogs (10-13-3, 7-9-2 CCHA)finished a two week homestand against a vengeful Minnesota State team and ended up on the wrong end of the broomstick after suffering their first sweep of the season.
Friday night’s tilt started off slow, as no goals were scored until the last five minutes of the first period. The Mavericks drew first blood against the Bulldogs. The lead was owned by the Mavericks for three minutes before junior forward Antonio Venuto snuck a pass from freshman defenseman Travis Shoudy behind the Maverick goaltender to tie the game at 1-1.
Following the first period, the game was all in favor of the Mavericks. The Bulldog offense went quiet as the Mavericks scored three more times during the second and third periods, leading to a 4-1 loss for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs challenged goaltender interference on the second goal scored by the Mavericks due to a lone Maverick being a little close to sophomore goaltender Noah Giesbrecht. As the score suggests, the Bulldogs did not win the challenge, and the goal stood.
Head coach Bob Daniels gave his thoughts on what he saw during the play that led to the challenge.
“Their guy went through and ran into our goaltender right before they scored,” Daniels said. “If you go back and watch the video, their guy goes through the crease. Our guy doesn’t direct him there. He’s the guy that’s going behind our guy, and he bumps into Noah.”
Daniels defended his challenge and believed that, in his opinion, it was goaltender interference.
During Saturday’s contest, the Bulldogs and the Mavericks had a silent first period. In the second period, the game began to look very similar to the previous nights’ scoring, as the Mavericks struck first. Moments later, senior forward Jason Brancheau rifled a shot and beat the Maverick goaltender to tie the game at one.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the tides turned in favor of the Mavericks. In an 11 second span, the Mavericks scored twice, putting the game at 3-1.
The Bulldogs let up two more goals to end the game and fell to the Mavericks 5-1. The Bulldog offense was contained by the Maverick defense, as they were only able to amass 15 shots on net.
Daniels compared that night’s loss to the previous night due to the early game similarities.
“It’s almost like last night… I thought we were in good shape right up until they got their second goal,” Daniels said. “It seemed like we were constantly always chasing the game from that point. We fell behind early, and they’re not an easy team to come back against. They’re very stingy defensively.”
The Bulldogs’ series loss to the Mavericks marks a measure of revenge for them, as their only sweep of the season came against the Mavericks in Mankato. For the Bulldogs, these two losses amounted to a five game winless streak, since their shootout win against Michigan Tech was recorded as a tie.
Junior goaltender Logan Stein, who played in the second game of the series, gave his thoughts on the weekends’ losses.
“We were disappointed with the result this weekend,” Stein said. “I thought the effort and the competition was great, we just had some mental lapses in the second period both nights that really changed the tide of both games.”
Stein stressed the importance of the remaining stretch of games by saying that “every game is a big game going forward.”
This weekend, the Bulldogs will go on the road to face the third place Bowling Green Falcons. The team will return home on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11 to play the Bemidji State Beavers.