The No. 11 Minnesota State Mavericks needed 3:58 of a five minute overtime session to earn a much-needed 3-2 victory at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Despite trailing after two periods of play, the Mavericks came out fired up in the third, notching two goals and carrying that momentum into the extra session.
â€œI was proud of the kids tonight,â€ said Mavericksâ€™ head coach Troy Jutting. â€œI donâ€™t think we played particularly well.â€
Winger Jason Wiley netted his fourth goal of the season by stealing the puck from Huskies defenseman John Kivisto, and upon finding no one between him and the net, Wiley skated in and beat senior netminder Rob Nolan with well-placed shot.
The Huskies (2-8-1 overall, 1-7-1 WCHA), who were back on home ice for just the second time this season, came out ready to play, and it showed, as the Huskies struck first for just the third time this season.
Freshman center Brett Olson got the Huskies on the board with a rebound shot over the right leg pad of Mavericksâ€™ goalie Mike Zacharias just 4:25 in. Junior defenseman Drew Dobson hit sophomore Eric Kattelus with a pass, and Kattelus took the initial shot, which handcuffed Zacharias.
â€œGood things happen when you put the puck on the net,â€ said Olson. â€œI just tried to bear down on it.â€
Zacharias fought the puck for most of the first period, kicking out large rebounds that the Huskies exposed at first, but seemed to get away from the longer the game carried on.
â€œI thought we really complicated the hockey game,â€ said Huskiesâ€™ head coach Jamie Russell.
The Mavericks took the first penalty of the game when center Trevor Bruess took a goaltender interference penalty for hitting Nolan behind the Huskiesâ€™ goal, but the Huskies couldnâ€™t take advantage of the power play opportunity.
In the second period, both teams went through five minute spurts where one squad controlled play and then the other did, but neither team could find a way to beat the netminders who continued to steal the show.
Zacharias came up especially big very early in the period when Huskiesâ€™ senior forward Alex Lord cut to the net with the puck, but couldnâ€™t find a hole to squeeze it through.
The Mavericks earned three power-play chances in the period, but had trouble even setting up their power play, allowing the Huskies to take control of the play.
With sophomore forward Jordan Baker off for tripping, the Huskies stole the puck from the attacking Mavericks and cruised towards Zacharias on a three-on-two, but couldnâ€™t find a chink in his armor.
The Mavericks finally began to play like a ranked squad in the third period where they managed to notch two goals in a four minute span.
Winger Mike Louwerse notched the first Mavericksâ€™ goal at the 5:55 mark when he was given free space to carry the puck to Nolan, and he beat Nolan short side, winger Rylan Galiardi and defenseman Kurt Davis both assisted on the goal.
â€œThe goal gave us a big lift,â€ said Jutting. â€œIt was a tough, hard-fought game.â€
The Mavericks nearly scored again shortly after, but the goal was waved off after it was determined that the puck was directed in by way of a body part instead of a stick.
Galiardi did give the Mavericks the lead at 9:58 on the power play. Galiardi picked up a rebound off a shot from captain Mick Berge and netted the goal. Davis also assisted on the play.
The teams traded shots until the final minute and a half, when Ben Youds was whistled for tripping, giving the Huskies a power play. Off an initial shot from freshman winger Alex MacLeod, Kattelus grabbed the rebound and stuffed it past Zacharias with just 25 seconds left to force the extra session. Olson also assisted on the goal.
Nolan made 29 saves in the loss, while Zacharias finished with 24.
The teams will meet again tomorrow night for the rematch.