For the second straight night, the No. 9 Minnesota State Mavericks used a pair of third-period goals to defeat the No. 1 Michigan Tech Huskies. The Mavericks got goals from center Matt Leitner and winger Jean-Paul Lafontaine six minutes apart to earn a 3-2 victory at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“It just goes to show that both teams are really close to each other,” said Mavericks coach Mike Hastings. “Both really one-goal games. It’s a big weekend for us.”
Lafontaine gave the Mavericks the lead after snatching up his own rebound, skating it around the net and beating Huskies goaltender Jamie Phillips to the far post at 7:32.
The Huskies (10-2-0 overall, 8-2-0 WCHA) got the game’s first power play just 3:30 in when Zach Palmquist took a slashing penalty to prevent a scoring chance for winger C.J. Eick. On the ensuing power play, the Huskies got some pucks through to Stephon Williams. The Mavericks goalie made a couple of good stops on the chances.
“Minnesota State is a real good hockey team,” said Huskies’ coach Mel Pearson. “They played hard. They are really good from the goal out. Having said that, I really like our team. We really battled hard.”
The Huskies broke the scoreless tie 5:29 into the second period when winger Malcolm Gould found Petan crashing the net. Petan unleashed a one-timer past Williams for his second of the weekend and seventh of the season.
Less than two minutes later, the Mavericks (9-3-0 overall, 7-1-0 WCHA) evened the game during a goal-mouth scramble. Max Gaede crashed the net, but the puck remained loose. While several sticks and legs attempted to move the puck, it squirted into a spot where Jordan Nelson could bat it home before the net came off the moorings at 7:12.
A controversial penalty to winger Sturos put the Mavericks on the power play just 48 seconds into the third period, and the Mavericks capitalized. Leitner cut into the high slot and fired a shot along the ice. While he did not get as much of it as he may have liked, the puck slid all the way to Phillips and through him into the net.
“For the most part, we were doing what we wanted to do,” said Huskies co-captain Tanner Kero. “We had a few breakdowns on a couple of shifts and it cost us.”
The Huskies cut the lead to one on a power play when Malcolm Gould lifted a rebound over a sprawling Williams at 16:48.
Pearson pulled Phillips with 48 seconds remaining, but the Huskies could not set up the shot they wanted in the offensive zone before the final buzzer.
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