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Mankato sweeps Bulldogs

Mavericks 6 Bulldogs 3 Mankato, Minn. -- Despite holding a two-goal lead in the second period Saturday night, Minnesota Duluth couldn't hold off Minnesota State-Mankato, losing 6-3 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's game before 3,47...

Mavericks 6

Bulldogs 3

Mankato, Minn. -- Despite holding a two-goal lead in the second period Saturday night, Minnesota Duluth couldn't hold off Minnesota State-Mankato, losing 6-3 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's game before 3,475 at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center.

Halfway through the WCHA season, UMD is faced with being left behind.

The Bulldogs are last in the 10-team league, four points out of ninth place.

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After a tough overtime loss last Saturday at home to Bemidji State, UMD came up with a flat performance to lose Friday to Mankato.

UMD's coaches and players talked at length Friday night in their locker room and had a meeting Saturday morning at their hotel in hopes of working out of a slump.

The Bulldogs (4-12-3, 2-10-2 WCHA) are 2-11-1 since Oct. 28 (1-9-1 in league play). Mankato (5-11-3, 4-8-2) lost two defensemen to checking-from-behind disqualifications, yet got support when three players scored their first goals of the season. The Mavericks also scored three straight power-play goals.

Mankato got off to a good start, scoring 1:42 into the game on the first shot on goal, but the Mavericks then lost two defensemen before the period ended.

Defenseman Lucas Fransen earned his first goal of the season from the right point to give Mankato a 1-0 lead.

UMD rallied as defenseman Travis Gawryletz passed to Bryan McGregor for a breakaway goal at 7:25. Freshman goaltender Alex Stalock was credited with his third assist of the season on the play.

The Mavericks had defensemen go to the locker room less than four minutes apart when referee Bill Mason called Steve Wagner for checking McGregor and Brian Kilburg for a hit on Jordan Fulton.

UMD didn't do a lot of damage with the lengthy power plays, but defenseman Matt Niskanen did connect on a 5-on-3 from the left circle with 3:34 left in the opening period for a 2-1 lead.

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Winger Mason Raymond put a shot off the crossbar on a right wing rush in the last minute.

A bizarre second period saw UMD go up 3-1, then Mankato rallied with three goals 3:30 apart for a 4-3 lead.

UMD's Mike Curry put in a rebound 66 seconds into the second period, athough Mankato's Jon Kalinksi answered 83 seconds late when the Bulldogs couldn't clear the zone.

Now for the bizarre stuff:

With two of the team's best defensemen out on disqualifications, two other Mankato defensemen scored their first goals of the season on power plays, Blake Friesen and Nick Canzanello.

Between those, UMD's McGregor was tripped by Kalinski on a breakaway and was given a penalty shot. Mankato goalie Mike Zacharias stopped McGregor.

Things got messy at 3:45 of the third period after a save by Stalock. Players paired off, including Stalock putting Mankato center Zach Harrison on his back. Harrison and UMD's Nick Kemp were give fighting majors and game disqualifications.

Fourteen of 28 WCHA games remain for the Bulldogs, starting with a home series against Michigan Tech on Jan. 5-6. UMD is off until facing Ohio State in the first round of the Ohio Hockey Classic on Dec. 29 in Columbus, Ohio.

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