MANKATO, Minn. — On a night when scoring was at a minimum, Minnesota State was able to answer a late St. Cloud State goal as the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie.
Husky forward Brian Schuster scored at 16:52 of the third to put SCSU (1-0-1 WCHA, 2-1-1 overall) up 1-0. But only 33 seconds later, defenseman Peter Runkel scored to tie the game for the Mavericks (0-1-1 WCHA, 0-3-1 overall), played in front of 4,215.
But besides the last 3:08 of regulation, the game was owned by the goaltenders. St. Cloud’s Jason Montgomery and MSU’s Jason Jensen each made 30 saves, most while standing on their heads.
“I thought there were some plays by both teams, some good goaltending by both teams, and all in all I thought it was a really good college hockey game,” said MSU coach Troy Jutting.
SCSU head coach Craig Dahl agreed, saying, “I thought it was a pretty good game all the way around.”
Schuster’s goal finally put an end to Jensen’s hot streak in the third. Schuster took the puck, stickhandled through the MSU defense, and beat Jensen for his first goal of the year.
But back came MSU. After being down 5-0 the night before and coming back to tie in regulation, everyone knew the Mavericks had the ability to bounce back.
Runkel, one of three seniors on the team, followed up the play and fired the puck from the top of the right faceoff circle. His shot bounced off several players and landed into the net. He was credited with his first goal of the season, which Dahl called a “pinball goal.” His tally sent the two teams into their second overtime in as many nights.
“I have really no idea how it went in,” Runkel said. “I kind of just shot it, and I don’t think it was very hard. I think it was just bouncing around. A couple guys on our team claim it went off their sticks, but I don’t really care as long as it goes in. But I couldn’t tell you how it went in.”
Asked if he was surprised, Dahl said, “I was more surprised last night.”
Besides the final two goals, there was plenty of other excitement to keep fans on the edge of their seats at the end of the game.
After Runkel’s score, Maverick sophomore Grant Stevenson fired a shot that hit the left post and bounced down in the crease. Teammate Jon Dubel rushed the net and was shoved down from behind. Dubel, Montgomery, and the puck all went into the net, but the referee ruled the net had moved before the puck went in.
In overtime, Mike Doyle, SCSU’s overtime scorer the night before, had a chance to score early on but was unable to do so. Later on, MSU’s Chad Clower was unable to put in Joe Bourne’s blocked shot as the puck sat in front of the net.
The two goaltenders played strong for the rest of the extra period as the game ended in the 1-1 tie.
In the first, Jensen and Montgomery set the stage as each goalie frustrated the opposing offense.
MSU jumped out with a lot of pressure early on. The Mavericks came close on a two-on-one rush 2:47 into the game as sophomore Brad Thompson attempted to beat Montgomery five-hole. However, the freshman goalie was up to the task and allowed no rebound.
Jensen was equally strong on his end of the ice. After helping the Mavericks kill a SCSU power play, Jensen stoned two St. Cloud players. T.J. McElroy’s shot from the point was stopped by Jensen, followed by a sprawling save by the sophomore to keep Jonathan Lehun’s backhander from finding the goal.
The goalies carried their dominant play into second to keep the game goalless.
Freshman Brock Becker came up with a big play early in the period as he caught a clearing attempt in midair and found himself all alone against Montgomery. However, his shot was stopped with a quick pad save, and teammate B.J. Abel was unable to put the rebound in with a wraparound attempt.
Jensen matched the play as he made sensational stops on Matt Gens, Colin Peters and Matt Hendricks on the power play 7:00 minutes into the second.
The third period featured a flurry of chances by both teams. Doyle hit the right post halfway through the period, while MSU’s Dana Sorenson nearly tipped a shot past Montgomery 14:53 into the third. But it was ultimately Schuster and Runkel who would add the only offense of the game in the tie.
Jutting said he thought his team had the capability to come back in the game, so he wasn’t all that surprised by Runkel’s goal.
“The only thing I said was, ‘Hey, we came back last night. It’s not time to panic right now, it’s time to keep playing and we’ll get it.’ Fortunately, it came right away.”
“The biggest thing with this team right now that I’ve seen so far is our character,” Jutting continued. “They don’t give up. They work hard, and they come every day to do their job.”
Both coaches had praise for their goaltenders after the game as well.
“I thought he played really good,” Dahl said of Montgomery. “He’s played two games now in his college career, and both have been on the road. I thought he made some really nice saves today, and he likes those kinds of games where he can see some shots in tight. He did a really good job.”
“I was seeing the puck really well tonight and moving around good,” Montgomery said. “I thought it was exciting and was just a great a great hockey game. It was fun to be a part of it.”
On the other end, Jutting also had praise for his goaltender, who stopped 48 of the 50 shots he faced this weekend.
“I think Jensen had an unbelievable weekend. You get that type of goaltending and you have a chance to win all the time.”
Up next for the Mavericks is a home series against Bemidji State. The Huskies travel home for a nonconference series of their own against Rensselaer.