MANKATO, Minn. — It may not have been the most productive near-10-minute power play, but Minnesota State got what it needed out of it Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center.
Wisconsins Craig Smith and Ryan McDonagh both left the ice during the third period for separate game disqualifications for checks from behind about four minutes apart, resulting in a Mavericks power play that lasted nine minutes and 39 seconds, including a 31 second 5-on-3 advantage.
And in the middle of all of it, Zach Harrison scored on a rebound to break a 2-2 tie at 12:22 and lead the Mavericks past the No. 17 Badgers 3-2 in front of an announced crowd of 4,337.
The Mavericks first conference win of the season comes a night after Wisconsin handed them a dominating 6-0 defeat.
Minnesota State coach Troy Jutting gave his lineup a makeover for Saturdays contest as he started everyone who was healthy who didnt play Friday, including freshman goaltender Austin Lee. Every line and every defensive pairing was different then the night before for the Mavericks.
Some guys that dont sit much were out, said Minnesota State forward Adam Mueller, who scored the Mavericks first goal. It just shows that whoever wants it more is going to be in the lineup and anything can change from night to night.
Blake Geoffrion gave Wisconsin an early lead with a power-play goal at 13:02, his second of the weekend that came when he knocked a rebound in off Brendan Smiths initial shot from the top of the right circle. The puck slowly moved past Lees pads and past the goal line to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead after one.
The Mavericks notched their first goal at 2:55 of the second — a much needed tally after a scoreless showing the night before — when Harrison skated into the zone and had his shot deflected by a defenseman to Mueller streaking to the net. Mueller had a far reach to cradle the puck before he shot it far-side into the open goal to tie the game at one.
It was a big goal for us, Jutting said, we hadnt scored in four periods against them. To finally get one by them was a huge lift.
Eriah Hayes gave the Mavericks their first lead of the series at 8:34 when he scored off a centering pass from Harrison on a power play.
I dont think we came with the same fire we had last night, said Badgers coach Mike Eaves. The two goals they scored before the winning goal was just going to the net hard and just creating havoc.
The wild third period began with the Badgers on a power play and they eventually earned a 5-on-3 advantage but couldnt convert on either opportunity. Wisconsin earned another power play a few minutes later but this time converted to tie the game at two. Geoffrion had the puck by the goal line and slid a backhanded pass to a wide open Brendan Smith in the slot who beat Lee to tie the game.
The Mavericks received their extended power play when Craig Smith checked Geoff Irwin from behind along the boards, which ignited three additional roughing penalties. Irwin left the game after the hit and didnt return.
When Geoff went down that lit a fire under us, said Harrison of the Mavericks captain. And no matter who was out there we wanted to win that game for him and for our team.
Minnesota State almost had their five minute power play expire before another checking from behind penalty was called on McDonagh for a hit on Hayes.
The Mavericks needed the few extra minutes as they capitalized when James Gaulrapp got the puck off a turnover and put a shot on net that bounced off a defender where Harrison finished it.
It popped out right back to me and I banged it home, Harrison said. Right place at the right time I guess.
The Mavericks still had more than four minutes remaining on their power play but couldnt find the net again.
Ive never seen two five minute (majors) in one period, Brendan Smith said. That just gases you for that period.
Added Eaves: I dont think there is any team in the country that talks more about seeing numbers, grab lift and hold, and we didnt do that tonight.
The Badgers had a power play for the final 50.6 seconds but couldnt convert. Wisconsin had the edge in shots, 33-27, and Lee earned the win in goal with 31 saves. Scott Gudmandson took the loss. He had 24 saves.
The Badgers (1-2-1 overall and in conference play) host New Hampshire in a nonconference showdown next weekend, while the Mavericks (3-3-0, 1-3-0) continue WCHA play in Denver.