MANKATO, Minn. — Fortunes sure changed quickly between Minnesota State and No. 16 Wisconsin Friday night at the Alltel Center. For the Badgers, it was something they’ve witnessed happen far too many times in Mankato, as they dropped the WCHA game 4-3 in overtime.
Wisconsin appeared to take a 4-2 lead with 5:47 left in the third period, but the goal was reviewed and waved off, saying it went off Tom Gorowsky’s skate with a kicking-motion. Just 14 seconds later, the Mavericks had a power play, and 56 seconds after, that Kael Mouillierat tied the game at three.
“It was definitely a momentum change,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “I think it’s the first one all year that we’ve had changed in our favor.”
Jerad Stewart tallied the game-winner at 3:14 in overtime on a play that was started by Andy Sackrison winning the puck along the boards. Sackrison got the puck to Stewart, who went on a two-on-one break with Zach Harrison and beat Shane Connelly on the far side.
“I was kind of looking the goalie off at first and looking for a little crease to pass it,” Stewart said. “It was getting down to the last second and I just fired it.”
Stewart’s goal gave the Mavericks their only lead of the game and gave the Badgers their third straight loss. The Badgers are now 4-9-2 all-time in the Alltel Center.
After a scoreless first period, the second period saw 12 penalties and five goals, as the Badgers took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Brendan Smith scored the Badgers’ first goal at 2:11 on a wide-open rebound in front of the net. The Badgers tallied their second on another rebound in front of the net, this time from Gorowsky. Both goals came on the power play. It was the second of three power-play goals the Badgers scored in the second period, taking advantage of seven Minnesota State penalties.
“There are kids that play too much and there are kids that don’t play enough when you spend that much time in the box,” Jutting said. “You just can’t do that. We’ve talked about it a lot this year and hopefully tonight they realize just what it does to you. At some point in time, it has got to sink in.”
Midway through the second the Badgers seemed to take a 3-0 lead on a rebound goal by Gorowsky, but it was waved off immediately for an interference penalty that happened seconds earlier.
Zach Harrison netted the Mavericks’ first goal at 16:26 after Wisconsin failed to get the puck out of its zone, but Michael Davies answered less than a minute later. With an open net, Mavericks’ defenseman Blake Friesen jumped in front to block a shot, but Davies found the puck in the scrum soon after for the goal.
Trevor Bruess kept the Mavericks alive with an even-strength goal with just 20 seconds remaining in the second, backhanding a shot over Connelly’s glove from the slot.
Bruess had a chance to tie the game early in the third when he was awarded a penalty shot after getting hooked in the slot by Jamie McBain on a breakaway. Bruess couldn’t capitalize on the chance, keeping the Mavericks a goal down.
“I think that was a momentum turner for [Wisconsin],” Jutting said. “Hockey is a game of momentum and it was a nice save by [Connelly] and a big momentum turner for them. You have to take advantage of the times you have those things.”
Gorowsky’s waived-off goal soon followed, which became his second waived-off goal of the game.
“I disagree,” said Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves after the game, referring to a call he was undoubtedly less-than-pleased with. “Obviously it’s a turning point in the game.”
It certainly turned into a turning point, as the Mavericks netted their only power-play goal of the game when Mouillierat took a pass from Rylan Galiardi at the bottom of the right circle, where the junior forward waited and stuck the puck in the near-corner.
Wisconsin outshot the Mavericks 24-8 in their power-play happy second period but the Mavericks didn’t commit a penalty in the third period or overtime.
“Stay out of the penalty box,” Jutting said he told players during the second intermission. “[Wisconsin] is way too good to spend that much time in the box and expect to win.”
Connelly made 23 saves in the game to Mike Zacharias 32. Blake Geoffrion and Smith had two assists each for the Badgers.
The Mavericks and Badgers finish the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.