ST. CLOUD, Minn. — It’s all about momentum going into the postseason. Minnesota State has it, and Saint Cloud coach Bob Motzko said his team hasn’t lost any.
“We’ve taken points every weekend this season, and we’ve been very constant in that way,” Motzko said.
Minnesota State took three points from No. 4 St. Cloud State over the weekend and capped the series with a 2-2 tie Saturday night at the National Hockey Center. The Mavericks won 4-2 Friday in Mankato.
“I was very proud of the way the kids played tonight,” said MSU coach Troy Jutting. “We’re playing very good hockey right now.”
With 2:40 left in overtime, Mavericks’ goaltender Phil Cook denied the Huskies of a chance to even the series when he sprawled across the crease to make a glove save on Ben Hanowski.
“I just told myself, ‘We’re not going to lose this game,’” Cook said. “I guess that’s where the competitiveness comes in. I tried to get a huge push and get as much equipment in front of the puck as I could, and it hit my glove.”
It was Cook’s brilliance in net that kept the score tied Saturday and preserved the lead for MSU the night before. He finished Saturday’s game with 24 saves.
“Obviously Phil made a really good save and he played really well tonight,” Jutting said.
MSU led the total shots as the closing seconds ticked down in the first period, but SCSU’s David Eddy won the puck from MSU’s Channing Boe in the corner and get it to Garrett Roe left of the goal. Roe fired a bad-angle shot at Cook’s right side and the puck trickled into the net with 1.5 seconds on the clock.
The Mavericks got a power-play opportunity 2:50 into the second period and put two shots on goal 10 seconds before the hooking penalty to Jordy Christian expired. Geoff Irwin’s centering pass deflected off Dan Dunn’s pad right to Evan Mosey on the other side of the crease, and he buried the open-net chance for his first career goal.
“(Mosey) played on the power play last night,” Jutting said. “He’s come a long way and I’m very pleased with his performance over the coarse of the past month and a half.”
The Huskies regained the lead 5:40 into the third period when Travis Novak brought the puck into the MSU zone and sent a wrist shot to the far post with MSU defenseman Boe in his face. Novak’s shot beat Cook high glove side for his eighth goal of the season.
The Mavericks went back on the power play 8:18 into the third and tied the game 50 seconds later. Michael Dorr sent the puck to the crease and Dunn tried to play the puck with his stick, but Rylan Galiardi was there for the tip-in. It was MSU’s fifth power-play goal out of 10 chances for the weekend.
“It was an area in which we struggled, so we worked hard on it in practice,” Jutting said.
The Mavericks scored three on the man-advantage in the first period Friday before Motzko pulled his starter, Dunn.
“It wasn’t really a confidence thing,” Dunn said. “They came out hard right off the bat and we clearly weren’t prepared. Tonight, we were ready.”
St. Cloud and Minnesota State await the winner of the Minnesota-Duluth vs. Alaska-Anchorage game to find out who their playoff opponents are next weekend.