Mavericks come back in last four minutes to tie and win 3-2 in OT
Minneapolis, Minn. -- After 40 minutes and with 2-0 lead, it looked like Don Lucia was getting his 400th win at Minnesota. But as all college hockey fans know—games are 60 minutes. The Gophers (4-5-0) gave up their two goal lead, and then fell 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota State (6-6-0) at Mariucci Arena in front of 9,739.
“We just kind of went in the shell, just started playing strictly defense,” said Justin Kloos. “You can blame it on immaturity but us older guys have to be better at the end. Give them credit, they worked their tail off, they’ve been snake bit... but if we match their effort, I think we end up with a different result.”
Minnesota took the lead late in the first period. Leon Bristedt won a footrace to a puck in the offensive zone and drew a hooking call to put his team on the man advantage. The Gophers won the ensuing draw and worked the puck around the top of their power play from Connor Reilly to Michael Brodzinski to Kloos for a one-timer into the upper right corner. It was Kloos third goal of the season and gave Minnesota a 1-0 at 19:49.
Minnesota added to their lead late in the second period when Tyler Sheehy put a puck on goal from the right point. The puck went off of Mankato State goalie Jason Pawloski’s blocker, up high in the air, and then down behind him over the goal line at 18:58 for Sheehy’s second goal of the season.
The Mavericks didn’t go away quietly. They drew two power play opportunities during the third period, and started to compete and win battles that they had lost all weekend up until this point.
“I thought last night we played a good first period, but then I thought we kind of went away,” said Mike Hastings. “Tonight, the second period, I didn’t think we went away. We had some adversity, and we kept coming. It’s amazing how the hockey gods sometimes reward you for staying in the game and continuing to fight.”
The Gophers started to struggle during the final five minutes getting from zone to zone, and mistakes like flat passes, icings, and cleanly losing draws added up.
“You could definitely feel them getting some momentum going in the last few minutes. They started picking it up and we were sort of on our heels a bit,” said Jake Bischoff. “We knew it was coming, we knew they were going to bring a push at the end, and still we weren’t able to stand up against it.”
Minnesota State got their first goal when Teddy Blueger won a draw cleanly back to Casey Nelson after an icing. The point shot was tipped by Bryce Gervais cutting the lead to one at 16:28.
“Icing a puck when you’re five feet from the red line by a freshman… you don’t get over the line and all of a sudden you have a face-off in your zone, you lose a face off cleanly and then they score and they are right back in it,” said Don Lucia. “Same thing second goal, it’s just a puck battle right at the blue line and, you know, should have been out, but you don’t get it out and they score.”
The second goal came during a long scramble by the Gophers trying to clear their zone after Minnesota State pulled their goalie with 1:47 remaining.
Minnesota had tired legs and Brett Knowles stepped into a loose puck in the slot to tie the game with 45 seconds remaining.
“The puck was literally on the blue line, so all you had to move it was another foot and we probably would have walked away with a win,” said Kloos. “It’s just not bearing down and going zone to zone.”
The Bristedt, Tommy Novak, and Hudson Fasching line was again consistent for Minnesota and were the only forwards able to move the puck from zone to zone down the stretch. However it was Minnesota State capitalizing on an opportunity in overtime for the winner.
Teddy Blueger was on a 3-on-1 rush, moved to the middle of the ice, and fired a shot five-hole for the winner 4:17 in overtime.
“It’s disappointing. You’re up by two with five minutes to go, you expect to win that game. Giving up the first goal gives them that momentum and that life,” said Lucia. “We always breakdown the Saturday game and show them clips on Monday—here are the mistakes, this is what caused it, just so they can see it, and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”
Minnesota is off next weekend and their next series is against St. Cloud with both games at Mariucci Arena on Friday, November 27 and Sunday, November 29. The football team plays Wisconsin on Saturday, November 28.
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