MANKATO, Minn. — Troy Jutting thought the game deserved to end in a tie. Denver head coach George Gwozdecky thought his sixth ranked Pioneers essentially stole a point from Minnesota State.
Kyle Ostrow scored with 1:16 left in the third period to force overtime and the game ended in a 4-4 tie Friday at the Verizon Wireless Center.
Ostrow’s goal came 11 seconds after Denver goaltender Sam Brittain went off for the extra attacker and 31 seconds after Justin Jokinen scored to give MSU the lead and the apparent game-winner.
“They had us dead in the rights with under two minutes in the game,” Gwozdecky said. “There were a number of cardinal sins we committed in the game. We were playing from behind all game it seemed.”
Denver had two shots on goal in overtime and MSU had one. The game was nearly even in many areas. Shots on goal were 30-28 in MSU’s favor, each team scored on the power play and players took as many jabs at each other as their opponents after whistles.
“The reality of it is, that game deserved to be tied,” Jutting said. “When you look at it, it was a pretty evenly-played hockey game.”
The Mavericks struck first when freshman forward Chase Grant got his stick on Kurt Davis’ shot as Grant walked through traffic and the puck bounced past DU goaltender Sam Brittain 8:14 into the game.
Anthony Maiani tied the game 3:21 into the second period. MSU goalie Phil Cook couldn’t corral Matt Donovan’s shot from the point and Maiani grabbed the rebound in the crease and shot it over a sprawling Cook.
The Pioneers got their only lead of the game when Drew Shore’s pass found Jason Zucker at the top of the crease and Zucker stuffed it between Cook’s pads at 17:48 of the second period. It was Zucker’s team-leading 15th goal of the season.
But it only took the Mavericks 24 seconds to tie the game before the end of the second period. Moments after he won a faceoff in the Denver end, Eli Zuck tipped a Tyler Elbrecht shot from the blue line past Brittain.
Channing Boe broke the tie for the Mavericks at the 9:04 mark of the third period on a soft wrist shot that found its way past Brittain. The Pioneers tied the game right back up a little more than two minutes later when MSU turned the puck over in their own zone and DU executed a tic-tac-toe play that ended up on Luke Salazar’s stick and in the back of the net.
“We are not afraid to play from behind and we had plenty of time to do it tonight,” Gwozdecky said.
With under two minutes left in the game, the Pioneers failed to clear the puck and MSU captain Rylan Galiardi kept the puck in the zone and left the puck for Justin Jokinen who beat Brittain five-hole from the bottom of the left circle.
It took DU only 31 seconds to tie the game when a loose puck came free to Ostrow in the slot and he shot it past Cook, who was out of position.
“There was a bunch of hacking at the net and the puck bouncing everywhere,” Maiani said. “I almost had it and finally it came to Kyle and he put it in.”
Maiani and Zucker each had a goal and an assist for the Pioneers. Galiardi and Davis each had two assists for MSU. Cook finished with 24 saves and Brittain had 26.
The teams meet again at 7:07 p.m. (CST) Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center.