MANKATO, Minn. — Colorado College did everything they could to lose the game, and Minnesota State did everything they could to win.
But in the end, neither team accomplished its goal, and the two teams skated to a 2-2 tie in front of 3,612 at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center.
“We kind of did a lot of things that could have handed them the game, and we were lucky to get out of it with a tie,” said CC captain Mark Stuart.
Sophomore goalie Chris Clark made 40 saves to lead MSU (9-14-5, 6-13-3 WCHA). Forward Brandon Polich scored the game-tying goal for the No. 2 Tigers with 9:42 left in the third.
CC (23-4-2, 16-4-2) had many lapses in the game that almost cost it the point it earned. With 8.5 seconds left in the second and the score tied 1-1, the Mavericks were able to tally a timely goal to take the lead into the third period.
Senior Adam Gerlach sent the puck towards the net from the right boards. With Jeff Marler and Brad Thompson crashing the net for MSU, Thompson redirected the puck past CC’s Matt Zaba.
To start the third, the Tigers were unable to score with 2:12 seconds of five-on-three play and over four minutes of power-play time.
Clark was very much the reason for Colorado College’s inability to score during the span. His biggest save on the penalty kill came off a shot from the right side. After receiving a cross-ice pass, Joey Crabb put a hard shot on net. Clark was able to dive to his right to make a fantastic save.
When asked where the puck hit him, Clark said, “I have no idea. It just hit me. I think it maybe hit the knob on my stick. I was just trying to get in the way.”
Finally, with less than four minutes left, the Tigers were caught with too many men on the ice, giving MSU a final power-play chance.
“Anytime it’s a tie game, and there’s three minutes left in the game and you get a too-many-men, you’re kind of asking for the other team to score,” Stuart said.
However, CC was able to kill off the penalty. Colorado College killed all seven Maverick power plays and scored twice on its eight man advantages.
“If there’s such a thing as a good point in this league, that was a good point,” said CC coach Scott Owens.
Minnesota State, on the other hand, came out with a better effort after a 7-1 loss Friday night. MSU outplayed the Tigers for most of the game and put together a much improved defensive effort.
“Tonight, I thought we were much, much tighter and did a better job defensively against them,” said Mavericks coach Troy Jutting.
The Mavericks were able to score on an early opportunity, something they failed to do in Friday night’s contest.
Sophomore David Backes carried the puck at the left face off circle and found Ryan Carter heading to the net. Carter fanned on his first shot, but he found the rebound and put it over Zaba’s left pad to give Minnesota State the 1-0 lead. The freshman’s 10th goal of the season came just 1:36 into the game.
“It’s a huge momentum thing when you can get on the board early enough,” Jutting said.
Zaba prevented the Mavericks for cashing in on any other opportunities in the first period. On a MSU power play later in the period, Zaba stopped Thompson’s point-blank chance on the left side of the goal. He later robbed Marler’s low shot from in close.
The Tigers nearly tied the game 6:53 into the period. Freshman Jimmy Kilpatrick found a rebound and put it into the net, but referee Todd Anderson called off the goal. Anderson ruled that Kilpatrick’s teammate Trevor Frischmon had interfered with MSU goalie Chris Clark, and he called a penalty on Frischmon that negated the goal.
Sertich got a legitimate goal on a CC power play early in the second to tie the game at one. The nation’s leading scorer wrapped the puck around to the right goal post. Clark appeared to be hugging the post, but Sertich was able to sneak it in for his 23rd goal of the year.
After Thompson’s goal, Clark made a flamboyant save midway through the third to keep his on pace to pick off the top team in the WCHA.
After several chances in close, Clark lost his stick. The goaltender was able to dive out of the crease and cover up the puck with his stick hand. After the whistle, Clark got up and tossed the puck into the corner.
“It was laying there and no one was walking in, so I just grabbed it with my hand. … When you’re hot, weird things seem to happen,” Clark said.
“We got the goaltending tonight comparable to what their goaltender did. And that allowed us to stay in the game all night,” Jutting said.
But CC was able to beat Clark and tie the game 9:42 in the third with another power-play goal. Polich had the puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot that beat Clark high.
“We battled back and got the tie, and we’re happy with a point, but we didn’t play as well as we wanted to,” Stuart said.
The Tigers outshot MSU 19-8 in the third. They also outshot their opponent 6-1 in overtime, but neither team was able to score in the extra frame.
“Give them a lot of credit for battling and competing tonight,” Owens said. “They were very, very difficult to play against. They had more energy, more speed, more toughness.”
After earning seven of eight points on a four-game road trip, the Tigers will return home next week to host St. Cloud. The Mavericks will take to the road to play Michigan Tech.