SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It was 148 seconds of chaos otherwise known as overtime that ended in Minnesota Duluth moving into the NCAA West Regional championship game.
Parker Mackay’s goal lifted the Bulldogs past Minnesota State 3-2 on Friday after Duluth trailed 2-0.
In that 2:28, Duluth had a goal overturned at the 55-second mark on a goaltender interference call. Seconds later, a sure goal by Nicholas Rivera of Minnesota State ended up hitting his own teammate Brad McClure in the backside as McClure went into the Duluth net.
Mackay netted the actual game-winner, setting off the Bulldogs’ second celebration and securing a game against Air Force on Saturday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
“[Justin Richards] made a great play to the center and I was fortunate to be coming that way with some momentum,” Parker said. “They have been doing a good job blocking shots all night. I was just trying to maybe fake it out. I just tried to see if there was a shot lane and, sure enough, trying to get pucks on net and it went in.”
Zeb Knutson and Ian Scheid scored first-period goals for the Mavericks (29-10-1), who fell to 0-5 in NCAA tournament games and to 25-1 this season when taking a lead into the third period.
Minnesota Duluth’s Nick Swaney tied the game at 15:52 of the third on a power-play goal. Jared Thomas found Swaney alone on the back door with a diagonal pass through the middle of the zone, and Swaney hammered home the one-timer.
“It started with the zone entry. That’s big,” Swaney said. “I think Jared just made a great play. I was fortunate to just find the back of the net.”
Duluth changed momentum in the second period, holding the Mavericks without a shot on goal for almost a 26-minute span stretching five minutes into the third period. The Mavericks are a team that like to fire the puck on net, averaging more than 35 shots a game.
“We just knew we had to stick to our game,” Swaney said. “We came out and got the jitters out in the first period. We were down 2-0, but I think, just like coach said, resiliency, just stuck with it. We knew good things would happen if we just played Bulldog hockey.”
Said Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin: “Sometimes you’ve just got to put it on net and hopefully you get guys going there. I thought we did a better job of that in the second period. I thought our second period was good.”
The Mavericks turned the table on the Bulldogs (22-16-3) and held them without a shot for 13 minutes at the end of the second and deep into the third.
“After we survived the second period — which that’s really what it was, we survived it — and we still had a lead, I thought the guys did a good job regrouping coming back in the third,” Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said. “I thought we had a much better third period.”
The Bulldogs pulled within one at 6:38 of the second period on a partial breakaway by Karson Kuhlman. Kuhlman poked the puck free from a Minnesota State left defenseman on the blue line and headed toward the net as the second defender beared down on the right. Kuhlman switched to his backhand and fired a shot past Mavericks goalie Connor LaCouvee.
The Mavericks dominated the first period, outshooting Duluth 12-5 and outscoring the Huskies 2-0.
Knutson opened scoring at 2:21 of the first on a partial break started by a blocked shot in his own end. Marc Michaelis found Knutson on the left side in the neutral zone. He came up the left boards and sniped a shot over the blocker of Hunter Shepard to give the Mavericks the early lead on their first shot on goal of the game.
“We had a good start,” Knutson said. “Everybody was dialed in and excited for the game. I think somewhere along the way it got lost and Duluth kind of made their push. Credit them — they are a great hockey team. Tonight, they got the best of us.”
The Bulldogs dug themselves a bigger hole by taking a slashing penalty at 5:01 by Dylan Samberg. The Mavericks lived up to their reputation — they own the second-best power play in the NCAA at 27.42 percent — as Ian Scheid netted a goal from the blue line. The shot was just inside the lower corner on the blocker side at 6:37.