MANKATO, Minn. — Perhaps still focused on the win that got away Friday, Minnesota State continued to miss opportunities and settled for a 2-2 tie with Minnesota Duluth Saturday.
A night after scoring the overtime winner, Matt McKnight scored the game-tying goal for UMD (6-7-3 overall, 4-3-3 WCHA). Isaac Reichmuth stopped 31 shots for the Bulldogs, while Dan Tormey denied 37 shots in net for MSU (3-9-3 overall, 2-7-3 WCHA).
A night later, it was obvious the OT loss was still on Maverick coach Troy Jutting’s mind.
“In a lot of areas, we’re getting better,” said Jutting. “It’s unfortunate. If we win last night like I really thought we should have, then it’s a three-point weekend and it’s a great weekend. I knew that was going to come back to haunt us and could come back to haunt us all year. Those were two big points that I felt we played well enough to get–probably should have gotten–that we didn’t get.”
In the first, MSU outshot the Bulldogs 15-7. Yet it was UMD taking the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Continuing with their trend from the night before, the Mavericks hit metal twice in the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s game. Both shots came from the stick of freshman defenseman Brian Kilburg.
After MSU’s Rob Rankin missed the net wide on a breakaway, Kilburg got the puck and fired from the right point, hitting the right post.
Minutes later, on a Minnesota State power play, Kilburg struck the post again.
“I just got those two pucks, I let them rip, and unfortunately it didn’t go my way You gotta shake your head, shake it off,” Kilburg said.
In Friday’s game, MSU hit the goal frame twice when the game was tied at 3-3 in the third.
“A couple bounces our way, and it’s a totally different series,” said MSU forward Brock Becker. “Credit them. They worked hard and they just coming. No matter how hard we went at them, they had an answer and they kept coming back. Basically a couple bounces were the difference.”
Minnesota Duluth made the Mavericks’ missed opportunities hurt as UMD tallied at 19:35 of the first to go up 1-0.
Just after a UMD power play expired, Michael Gergen sent the puck through the MSU crease from left to right to MacGregor Sharp on the right side. Sharp’s shot deflected of MSU’s Jon Dubel and into the net for Sharp’s second goal of the year.
Minnesota State capitalized on a five-on-three power play to tie the game at 6:47 of the second. David Backes passed from the top of the right circle to Becker on the right side of the net. Becker had an open goal to deposit his sixth of the season.
The Mavericks took a 2-1 lead at 7:28 of the third on a magnificent individual play by freshman Jon Kalinski. On the power play, the forward took the puck out of the right corner and went to the net.
Kalinski attempted to put a shot on net, but the puck was deflected by the defenseman covering Kalinski. The puck bounced over Reichmuth’s shoulder and over the goal line.
“We finally got a little puck luck on the second goal,” Jutting said.
MSU went 2 for 8 on the power play, while UMD went scoreless on seven chances.
The momentum shifted back as UMD tied the game at 12:10 of the final period. After a shot from Nick Kemp was stopped by Tormey, McKnight gathered the rebound and fired it underneath the Maverick netminder for his second goal of the series.
MSU had chances as the game ended too. After killing a Bulldog power play to start the extra session, Minnesota State had a man advantage for the final 43 seconds. But MSU couldn’t get set up to score the winner.
Before that, Backes had a chance at 3:29 of OT. However, the junior captain shot the puck right into Reichmuth’s chest from the slot.
Jutting said he felt his team might have lost confidence in being able to score some goals.
“You score when you should have in the first period, you gain a lot of momentum and put them back on their heels. But we let them stay in the game by not capitalizing in the first period on all of those good chances,” Jutting said.
Meanwhile, UMD is riding a four game unbeaten streak and has just one loss in its last six games. Even after a three-point road trip, Bulldog coach Scott Sandelin wasn’t ready to say his team had confidence.
“I’m still trying to figure out our team. It’s still kind of a mystery,” Sandelin said.
The UMD coach said he feels his team might lose its hunger on Saturday night if it wins the Friday night game of a series.
The Bulldogs will head to Colorado College next weekend to challenge the No. 2 Tigers. Meanwhile, MSU plays Notre Dame at home Tuesday before taking to the road to challenge Michigan Tech next weekend.
“Maybe some guys will build some confidence if we can score some goals,” Jutting said. “I don’t know if Tuesday’s game is as important as just getting some momentum going.”