MINNEAPOLIS — Brett Knowles scored with 44 seconds left in the game, propelling No. 14 Minnesota State to a 2-1 upset over top-ranked Minnesota at Mariucci Arena, ending the Gophers’ 10-game unbeaten streak.
The goal was Knowles’ second of the year and came of a rebound from a shot from the blue line by Zach Palmquist. Knowles made no mistake and buried the loose puck into the open net.
“We fought through a lot that third period,” said Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings. “I thought the guys played well tonight. I didn’t think we created a lot of their offense, which was important for us and found a way to get one.”
“The way both goalies were playing, that’s kind a of the way it looked,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “It wasn’t probably going to be a clean shot.”
The Gophers did not go down without a fight in the remaining 44 seconds, nearly tying the game twice.
“I do not know how that last one did not go in,” said Hastings. “They had a good look at it.”
The valiant effort capped a period where Minnesota outplayed the Mavericks winning faceoff after faceoff and peppered goaltender Stephon Williams with 20 shots.
“We were playing a little bit on our heels and Minnesota showed why they are the No. 1 team in the country,” said Hastings.
Williams was superb, stopping 37 of 38 shots on the game and outdueling fellow freshman netminder Adam Wilcox, who stopped 31 shots.
“I thought [Williams] was really good tonight, especially at the end, really throughout the third period,” Hastings said.
Nate Schmidt opened the scoring at 7:48 of the second. Nate Condon found Schmidt make a run up the weak side. The pass was behind Schmidt, who showed great hands rotating the puck to his forehand before popping the puck over Williams.
Johnny McInnis tied the score at 16:42 of the second with a power-play goal. Wilcox lost track of where the puck was behind the net. Matt Leitner fed for the four-foot tap in as Wilcox looked over his shoulder.
The Mavericks started strong putting pressure on the Gophers from the opening draw, notching seven of the first 10 shots and outshooting Minnesota 12-8 on the stanza. Despite the high number of shots for Minnesota State, the Mavericks had very few high-quality chances.
“We came out early and they had the momentum the first half of the game,” Lucia said. “We were kinda sagging. We weren’t playing on our toes.”
The best scoring opportunity of the first came when Minnesota’s Travis Boyd was stopped on a back-door one-timer on the tail end of a two-on-one rush from just at the edge of the crease. Williams went pipe to pipe to stuff Boyd.