MSU-Mankato claims back-to-back WCHA titles behind McClure hat trick
No. 2 Minnesota State-Mankato scored four unanswered third-period goals in downing Michigan Tech by a 5-2 margin in the championship game of the WCHA Final Five Saturday evening in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In doing so, the Mavericks claimed their second consecutive Broadmoor Trophy as league postseason champions.
Freshman forward Brad McClure, who was named tournament MVP, scored the final three goals of the game as Minnesota State upped its season record to 29-7-3.
Tech senior forward Blake Pietila pounced on a rebound before punching the puck past Stephon Williams for a power play goal at 6:04 of the first period to open the scoring in the game.
Minnesota State senior defenseman Brett Stern carried the puck deep into the offensive zone and found Chase Grant, who was positioned in front of the net. Grant tapped Stern's pass past All-WCHA First Team netminder Jamie Phillips at 9:28 for this seventh goal of the season and the two teams entered the locker rooms knotted at 1-1.
The Huskies took a 2-1 lead with another power goal at 2:44 of the second on a shot from the point by Alex Petan that got past a screened Williams.
An opportunistic Jordan Nelson converted on a rebound chance at 8:08 of the third tied it up at 2-2. The goal by Nelson is his fourth of the season and his first goal since Jan. 16. The Mavericks went ahead for the first time in the game at the 11:32 mark as freshman forward Brad McClure ripped one past Phillips as he was coming down the right side. Continuing that trend, McClure tipped a shot from Teddy Blueger into the net at 14:25 for his second of the game. It became the first career hat trick for Blueger when he jumped on a juicy rebound for a power play goal at 18:40.
Junior netminder Stephon Williams, who made 23 stops, now stands at 25-5-3 on the year.
McClure, who tallied five goals and an assist in two games for the weekend in picking up WCHA Final Five Most Outstanding Player honors, was named to the All-Tournament team, along with senior defensemen Zach Palmquist and Brett Stern, and netminder Stephon Williams.
The Mavericks, 29-7-3 on the season, expect to be named a No. 1 seed when the NCAA Division I men's hockey postseason tournament selections are announced tomorrow.