Sophomore forward Matt Leitner posts goal and three assists for Mavericks

Matt Leitner had a goal and three assists for the Mavericks

Mankato, Minn. --- Six different Mavericks scored including freshman Bryce Gervais who netted two as the Minnesota State men's hockey team scored a 7-1 exhibition victory over the University of Lethbridge to open the 2012-2013 campaign Sunday evening at the Verizon Wireless Center.

The Mavericks fell behind early when Lethbridge's Chase Schaber knocked in a shot from teammate David McMullen that had trickled behind MSU senior goalie Phil Cook for the 1-0 advantage 6:34 into the game. Minnesota State retaliated less than two minutes later, when Gervais scored off from assists sophomores Matt Leitner and Chase Grant to equal the game at one a piece after one period of play.

MSU came out of the locker room after the first intermission determined to break the tie and did so a mere 39 seconds into the second period. Senior Eriah Hayes wristed a shot by Pronghorns' netminder Damien Ketlo's right shoulder for a 2-1 Mavericks lead. Freshman Dylan Margonari added a goal assisted from freshman Brett Knowles for a 3-1 MSU advantage 4:19 into the period. Leitner finished off the scoring for the Mavericks at the 12:52 mark with the help from Gervais for a 4-1 lead. Minnesota State outshot Lethbridge 20-3 in the period.

"It was nice to see them build on a lead," said new MSU head coach Mike Hastings. "I thought they would come out quick in the period."

The start of the third period continued to see the Mavericks living in the Pronghorns' end of the rink. They outshot Lethbridge 29-1 in the period getting three more shots by Ketlo. The first came from junior Johnny McInnis on a power play goal at 3:46 mark. Gervais added his second goal 13:28 into the period and senior Evan Mosey closed out the scoring at the 19:51 mark.

"Bryce (Gervais) is just a pure goal scorer," said Leitner. "He has an ability to put the puck in the net."

"Leitner is an easy guy to play with," said Gervais. "He'll always find the open guy."

Overall, the Mavericks outshot Lethbridge 65-10, including 49-4 in the final two periods. Leitner was the game's top scorer with a goal and three assists. Gervais had two goals and an assist and Grant added two assists.

"We've got a long way to go," said Hastings in terms of his team's readiness for the season opener. "I like how we played for 60 minutes, but we have a lot of work we need to do between now and Friday (the team's season opener).

MSU opens the 2012-2013 regular season with a non-conference road series at Alabama-Huntsville next Friday and Saturday. The Mavericks host RPI October 19-20 at the Verizon Wireless Center in its next home action.