3-0 win gives Mankato a sweep over UAA skaters

Doyle Woody

During its perilously slow start in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, UAA could note it earned at least a point in each of its first four league series.

That modest talking point got muted Saturday night.

Streaking Minnesota State-Mankato dispatched last-place UAA 3-0 to sweep the series at the Verizon Wireless Center.

Mavericks freshman goaltender Stephon Williams of Fairbanks posted his sixth straight victory -- and his club's sixth consecutive win -- and earned his second shutout in that span.

Granted, Williams faced a mere 16 shots Saturday, and just 21 in Mankato's 3-1 series-opening win Friday. Still, during his hot streak he is 6-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .958 save percentage, and certainly a candidate to win the league's Rookie of the Week honor for the third straight week.

The Mavericks, meanwhile, unloaded 35 shots on Seawolves junior Chris Kamal, who made 32 saves. Kamal stopped 69 of 75 shots on the weekend (.920 save percentage), which elevated his save percentage to .912 from .908.

But he received scant support. Matt Bailey's goal less than two minutes into Friday's game was the only one the Seawolves scored all weekend -- Mankato scored the last six goals of the series. UAA has been shut out three times in 14 games and is averaging just 2.14 goals per game overall and only 1.90 goals per WCHA game.

The 40 shots UAA surrendered Friday and the 35 it permitted Friday are the two highest shot totals it has allowed an opponent this season. And its combined 37 shots on goal were the fewest it has delivered in five WCHA series this weekend.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Seawolves' 16 shots Saturday were trumped by a trio of Mavericks -- Zach Lehrke (7), Eriah Hayes (6) and Brett Knowles (4) combined for 17 shots.

UAA dropped to 3-7-4 overall and 1-6-3 in the WCHA. Mankato improved to 9-5-2 overall and 7-5-0 in league.

After a scoreless first period, Chase Grant got the Mavericks going less than two minutes into the second period with a knuckling shot from the high slot that went high glove-side on Kamal. Hayes followed about six minutes later with his team-leading 10th goal, which stretched his point streak to eight games.

Lehrke added a power-play strike in the third period as UAA fell to 0-4-2 on the road.

The Seawolves on Friday and Saturday entertain Minnesota-Duluth in a WCHA series that ends the first half of the season before the holiday break.

Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.

UAA 0 0 0 -- 0

Mankato 0 2 1 -- 3

First Period -- None. Penalties -- Williams, UAA (cross-checking), 10:03.

Second Period -- 1, Mankato, Grant 5 (Nelson, Blueger), 1:51; 2, Mankato, Hayes 10 (Knowles, Lafontaine), 7:26. Penalties -- Margonari, Mankato (holding the stick), 7:42.

Third Period -- 3, Mankato, Lehrke 3 (Palmquist, Leitner), 7:06 (pp). Penalties -- Roy, UAA (slashing), 6:11; Allen, UAA (tripping), 10:10; Currier, UAA (tripping), 13:31; Lafontaine, Mankato (slashing), 13:57.

Shots on goal -- UAA 4-5-7--16. Mankato 13-14-8--35.

Power-play Opportunities --UAA 0 of 2. Mankato 1 of 4.

Goalies -- UAA, Kamal, 2-5-0 (35 shots-32 saves). Mankato, Williams, 6-3-1 (16-16).

A -- 3,348 (4,832). T -- 2:09.

Referees -- Craig Welker, Brett Klosowski. Assistant referees -- Nick Bradshaw, Sam Shikovsky.