SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union goalie Kris Mayotte continues to impress coach Nate Leaman with his performances.
Mayotte bailed out his teammates Friday against 15th-ranked Minnesota-Duluth. The sophomore netminder made 43 saves, helping the Dutchmen earn a 2-2 tie against the Bulldogs at Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles Center.
The Dutchmen (7-2-3), who finished their first trimester final exams earlier in the day, jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead, but the Bulldogs (5-5-2) dominated the rest of the game. The Bulldogs had a 45-21 shot advantage.
“We weren’t there mentally,” Leaman said. “That’s a darn good hockey team. If you’re not there mentally versus a good hockey team, you’re in trouble. We’re just fortunate we have Kris Mayotte in net. He got us a point tonight.”
Mayotte (5-2-3) lowered his goals-against average to 2.09, and increased his save percentage to .930. He made 16 saves in the second period as the speedy Bulldogs pressured the Dutchmen in their zone.
“They were getting more shots than us, but they weren’t outchancing us,” Mayotte said. “A lot of their shots were from the outside.”
UMD coach Scott Sandelin was impressed with Mayotte’s performance.
“It’s tough to spot a team two goals, but we showed some character coming back and played better as the game went along,” Sandelin said. “We certainly had opportunities. It’s like I told my guys, we did a lot of good things except bury the puck. Mayotte was the reason. He played very well.”
Mayotte criticized himself for allowing UMD’s first goal by Beau Geisler at 7:23 of the second period. Geisler was in the right circle and had a teammate to his left in the slot. Mayotte anticipated a pass and started to move to his right. That left an opening to Mayotte’s left for Geisler to fire the puck home.
“The first goal should have never gone in,” Mayotte said. “Our guys played it well. I messed that up. I cheated a little bit.” But Mayotte had no chance at stopping a hard wrist shot from the slot by Tim Hambly at 5:54 of the third period.
Mayotte benefited from four shots drawing iron. Junior Lessard hit the right post off from the right wing in the first period, Nick Anderson hit the post with a slot shot in the second, Tyler Brosz caught the crossbar late in the second and Justin Williams had a shot hit the crossbar in the third.
“You need help like that in a game like this,” Mayotte said. A.J. Palkovich and Joel Beal scored in the first period for Union, which was outshot 13-6.
“The 2-0 lead hurt us because it wasn’t a good indication of how close the game was,” Leaman said. “The first period, we scored on two of our opportunities, and they didn’t. The guys laid back and let the game come to them, and Duluth took it to us.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.