Minnesota State jumped out to a 4-1 lead with only 29 minutes remaining in regulation, but it wasn't until freshman Zeb Knutson scored a power play goal 2:23 into overtime that the Mavericks prevailed with a 5-4 overtime victory over Minnesota Duluth tonight.
The Mavericks took an early 2-0 lead after the first period thanks to goals by CJ Franklin and Jordan Nelson. They appeared to take a 3-0 lead on a beautiful goal by Dylan Margonari, but after a lengthy video review, referee Brad Shepherd stuck with is original ruling and waved the goal off.
The game opened up at 6:58 of the second period when UMD's Kyle Osterberg was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind. The borderline call seemed to ignite an otherwise moribund UMD team, and Dominic Toninato scored his nation-leading fourth goal of the season shorthanded shortly after. But the Mavericks would add a pair of the power play goals on the extended man advantage to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
From that point to the end of regulation, Minnesota Duluth controlled play. Carson Soucy started the come back with a power play goal to make it 4-2, followed by a wicked snipe from captain Adam Krause to make 4-3 Minnesota State heading into the final frame. The Mavericks looked like they might be able to hang on to their one-goal lead for the entirety of the third period, when UMD freshman Karson Kuhlman tipped a Tony Cameranesi shot from the half boards past Williams to knot the game with 3:50 left in regulation.
The Mavericks played the final 3:50 on their heels, but were able to force overtime. In the OT, Minnesota State's Zach Palmquist was able to draw a penalty on Minnesota Duluth's Krause, giving the Mavericks a key man advantage situation late in the extra period. That opportunity gave the Mavericks some extended pressure in the Duluth zone, and at 2:23 of the overtime period, Knutson jabbed home a rebound to give the Mavericks the win.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Mankato for game two of this series. Puck drops at 7:00pm
-We'll start with the end. It's almost an exact reverse of last year's North Star Cup semifinal, when Minnesota Duluth had the 5-4 overtime win over the Mavericks, thanks to a questionable penalty call in overtime. Much like last year, I thought the offending player was at fault for putting himself in a bad spot, but that the other player involved did some work to help sell the call.
-The officiating in this game was just a mess from the second period onward. Chief among them will be the decision to call Osterberg for a five-minute major for this, and giving Minnesota State's Jaden Schmeisser a two-minute minor for this. One of those two calls are wrong. You can take your pick which.
-Minnesota Duluth has scored three or more goals in regulation of all three of their games, have never given up more than 23 shots on goal in regulation of a game. And yet their record is 1-2-0 on the season. That's got to change if this team is going to do anything this year. Just like last year, they're outplaying teams everywhere but the goal crease.
-Stephon Williams got the start in goal for Minnesota State, and was good enough to get the win, even if his final numbers will end up kind of ugly. Williams is far from the most technically sound goalie, but he made some big saves in the first period and a couple late in the third period that ended up being just enough to get the win. It will be interesting to see how Minnesota State manages their goalies going forward, because I don't think Williams is consistent enough to be the starter every game this season.
-Minnesota State is talented enough that they'll be able to cover their deficiencies against most of the WCHA, but the absence of Jon Jutzi from the blue line really showed in the third period tonight against a very good offensive team. Their defensemen put them shorthanded twice in the third period
-Dom Toninato continued to look like he'll have a breakout season. He had the shorthanded goal in the second period but nearly as impressive was a first period backcheck that saved what looked like a sure goal for Minnesota State. He's turning into a great all-around hockey player.
-I'm excited to be down in Mankato for tomorrow night's game. The last two games these two have played have been very fun, high-scoring games.