MANKATO, Minn. — Dusty Sedars
Late Surge Powers Mavericks
It took a little of last year’s magic for Minnesota State to gain its first conference win of the season.
After six come-from-behind wins in the third period last year, the Mavericks (2-4-1, 1-2-0 WCHA) replicated that formula to overcome a 2-1 deficit in the third and defeat Alaska-Anchorage, 3-2, Friday night in front of 3,577.
“It was kind of a hint of last year,” MSU captain Shane Joseph said. “We came out right away and put pressure on them, and we got a couple of bounces and the puck went in the net.”
“I thought we played very well in the third period,” Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said. “We came out with some determination and some heart. Especially with a team as young as we are, I think that will do a lot to help our confidence for the future.”
Minnesota State outshot the Seawolves 15-4 in the third.
“Guys were ready when we went out for that third … We put it to them,” Joseph said.
MSU was led by Joseph’s two goals and Jon Hart’s game-winner. UAA (3-4-0 overall, 0-3-0 WCHA) received two goals from Curtis Glencross in the losing effort.
Leading 2-1 in the third, the Seawolves came close to putting the game away just 35 seconds into the period. Sophomore Chris Fournier fired a shot from the right circle, but the puck struck the post. The goal would have put UAA up by two, but the Mavericks took advantage of the missed opportunity.
At 4:13 of the third, Joseph tallied his second goal of the night and fourth goal of the season to tie the score. Off a turnover in the UAA zone, Maverick freshman Kurtis Kisio found the puck on a three-on-one down low. He slid the puck to Joseph on the left side who fired the puck past UAA’s Kevin Reiter.
With 8:32 left in the game, Hart finished off the hard work of his line mates. After Dana Sorenson and Rob Rankin beat Seawolf defensemen for the puck, Rankin fed Hart in front of the net. The junior one-timed the puck for his second goal of the year.
“They did the dirty work,” Hart said. “All I had to do was put it in. It was a great play by them.”
Said Jutting, “Jon’s the epitome of a hard working kid who just keeps battling and battling and battling. If you do that in anything in life, you’re going to be successful.
“I don’t know how many career goals Jon has, but I would venture to guess 75 percent of them are game-winners. But he’s a deserving kid. Kids who put in the time like that, a lot of times good things will happen for them.”
Fournier had a chance to score the equalizer with under two minutes left in the game, but MSU goalie Jon Volp stopped his backhand chance in front of the net to preserve the victory. The win was Volp’s first in six attempts this season.
Joseph opened the scoring at the end of the first period. After a turnover by Reiter, Kisio found Joseph on the right side of the net. The senior made a turnaround shot that seemed to be heading wide of the net, but UAA defenseman Mark Smith deflected the puck as he dove in front of Joseph. The puck bounced past Reiter and into the net for Joseph’s third goal of the year at 19:11 of the period.
Joseph’s two-goal night came after he went four games without registering a point. The NCAA returning scorer never went more than one game without a point last year.
“Shane will score, it’s just a matter of time,” Jutting said. “It was nice to see him kind of break out tonight.”
The Seawolves tied the game on another crazy bounce midway through the second. On a three-on-two rush, Smith took a shot from the slot. He shot hit teammate Ales Parez and bounced over to the left side where Glencross put the puck in at the 12:11 mark.
Less than a minute later, Glencross notched his second goal of the night and third of the year. Justin Bourne took a shot from the left side, and Volp, who lost his stick, made the initial save. However, Glencross was standing at the doorstep and easily put the rebound past the Maverick goalie to give UAA the lead at 13:05 of the second.
“Curtis is a very passionate hockey player,” UAA coach John Hill said. “He goes hard at the body and he goes hard to the net, and when you do that, you’re going to create chances not only for yourself but for your lines mates. I’m very happy with his play and happy to see him rewarded.”
Hill thought his team played a good game but was upset with the turnovers that led to MSU’s third-period goals.
“The tough thing to take is the third goal especially,” Hill said. “It was a faceoff we won in our own zone. We had two defensemen who were out of position and created the turnover, and then we left the guy wide open in front of the net for the easy goal. That’s tough to take, but you’re going to make mistakes like that when you have as young a team as we do.”
The Seawolves dressed three freshmen, two sophomores, and one junior on defense.
“You don’t want to use that as an excuse, but sometimes it is what it is,” Hill said.
Jutting was happy for the win, but he still thinks his team has a lot to improve on, including capitalizing on chances.
“We got just enough to win tonight,” Jutting said. “We need to score more than that if we get those kinds of chances.”
“This is tough to swallow,” Hill said, “but we just need to regroup and get ready for tomorrow night.”
The two teams will finish the series Saturday night with game time set for 7:05 p.m. (CT).