Maverick Hockey downs Cougars in exhibition opener

#19 Minnesota State hosted the University of Regina (Sask.) in college hockey exhibition action Saturday at Verizon Center in downtown Mankato.

The Mavericks, who earned a share of the MacNaughton Cup last year as regular-season champions of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, trailed early in the game against the visiting Cougars, but took the lead midway through the opening stanza and didn’t trail thereafter, eventually skating away with a 5-3 victory.

Regina’s Gray Marr started the scoring when he tallied an even-strength marker at the 2:56 mark of the first period. The Mavericks responded with three goals before the end of the period. Zeb Knutson tied the game at 9:33 and seven seconds later, Jordan Nelson gave the Mavericks their first lead. Junior forward Brad McClure made it a 3-1 game right before the end of the period, wristing a shot past UR netminder Mitch Kilgore at the 19:52 mark.

Freshman forward Mark Michaelis capitalized on a power play chance in giving the Mavericks a three-goal cushion at the :22-second mark of the second period, but Logan Harland answered for Regina at 12:50 and the two teams entered the dressing rooms with Minnesota State owning a 4-2 lead after two periods of action.

Regina’s Trent Lofthouse scored to bring the Cougars within one at 5:39 of the third, but McClure’s second goal of the game, which came at 11:28, sealed the win for the Mavericks.

Minnesota State, which outshot Regina by a 41-20 margin in the contest, used three goaltenders with Cole Huggins finishing with 7 saves, Jason Pawloski had four and Aaron Nelson six.

The Mavericks start the 2016-17 season next weekend with Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe Michigan Tech visiting Verizon Wireless Center for a pair of games Friday and Saturday.

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