Courtesy of NMU Athletics

MANKATO, Minn. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team dropped the first game of a best of three series in the opening round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs to No. 2 seed Minnesota State, 3-2 at the Verizon Wireless Center Friday.

The loss drops the Wildcats 15-20-2 while Minnesota State improved to 23-13-1.

The Mavericks scored three straight goals to begin the game. Matt Leitner scored first for MSU at the 3:44 mark of the first period on assists from Josh Nelson and Bryce Gervais.

Following Leitner’s goal, the Wildcats had a goal disallowed after freshman forward Dominik Shine crashed the net around the seven-minute mark of the first.

Gervais gave the Mavericks a 2-0 lead after he scored a power play goal at the 4:24 mark of the second. Teddy Bluger and Zach Stepan assisted on the play.

Sean Flanagan gave MSU a 3-0 advantage when he scored on the power play at the 8:23 mark of the second on assists from Stepan and Bluger.

Freshman forward Shane Sooth put the Wildcats on the board scoring his fourth goal of the season at the 15:01 mark of the second period on assists from freshman forward Dominik Shine and freshman defenseman Brock Maschmeyer.

Maschmeyer scored his fifth goal of the season on an assist from senior captain Stephan Vigier at the 3:32 mark of the third to set the final score at 3-2.

The Mavericks outshot the Wildcats 25-18 in the contest including a 13-6 advantage in the second period.

Freshman goalie Mathias Dahlstrom fell to 14-18-2 on the season and made 22 saves in net for NMU. Cole Huggins picked up the win for MSU improving to 18-7-1 on the season and made 16 saves in net.

NMU was 1-2 on the power play and 2-4 on the penalty kill.

NMU and Minnesota State continue their best of three WCHA Playoff series at 8:07 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center.