MANKATO, Minn. — When St. Lawrence saw its two-goal lead evaporate in the third period Friday against Minnesota State, Saints coach Joe Marsh viewed the game as a loss.
When his team forced overtime with a goal in the final minute of Saturday’s game at the Verizon Wireless Center, Marsh saw SLU’s 1-1 tie at MSU at least as a moral victory.
“This one feels like we stole one back because we had chances but not as many as (MSU),” said Marsh, whose team tied MSU 5-5 the night before. “We were fortunate to get a couple of good shifts, get a break, and tie it.”
Pete Child’s goal with 52 seconds left in regulation forced overtime when his shot took a bounce past MSU goalie Austin Lee.
“We were all kind of pressing after the timeout,” said Child, who now has two goals and an assist in the first two games of the season. “Sean Flanagan came around the corner and got it to me. There was a guy coming hard at me so I focused on hitting it as hard as I could. I hit it hard and I got a lucky bounce.”
The Saints thought they had won the game 2:14 into the overtime when Kyle Flanagan stuffed the puck in a wide open net; however, his brother, Sean, was called for hooking right in front of the MSU goal to help free up the puck.
For the Mavericks, it was the second straight night they saw a one-goal win slip through their skates. SLU forced Friday’s tie on a goal with 3:54 remaining in regulation.
“We place emphasis on finishing games all the time,” MSU coach Troy Jutting said. “Unfortunately, we got a bad bounce and it ended up in the back of our net. It’s not two losses and it’s early in the year.”
Jutting was happy with the way his team made improvements on the penalty kill from Friday when MSU allowed three goals while down a man.
“I thought we got a lot better tonight,” Jutting said. “Not only did we give up any goals but we didn’t really give up any chances.”
The Mavericks got on the board first at the 15:50 mark of the second period when freshman goalie Matt Weninger made the inital save on MSU’s J.P. Burkemper, only to have Justin Jokinen come by as the puck sat in the crease and jam it across the line for his second goal of the season.
The Mavericks had a 38-24 edge in shots on goal including a 4-0 advantage in overtime. Two of those shots came after Sean Flanagan’s hooking penalty. MSU’s Michael Dorr forced a turnover in the SLU zone with two seconds left in OT, had enough time to turn around and shoot the puck but Weninger made the save as time ran out.
The freshman made 37 saves in his first ever start. Weninger’s counterpart, Austin Lee, made 23 saves.
“I settled into things and let the game play at my speed,” Weninger said. “For some reason, I guess I was more excited than nervous.”
Marsh added that “he was in position, square up to the shooter even after making a second or third save. He battles which is good to see. The guys were really pumped for him.”
SLU (0-0-2) stays on the road at Ferris State with a 7 pm face-off Friday and Saturday in Big Rapids, Mich.
“It felt like a really good opening weekend and we’re looking forward to what we can do from here on,” Child said.
MSU (0-0-2) goes to Houghton, Mich. to face Michigan Tech in a pair of 7pm starts next weekend.