The series sweep was in the Gophers’ hands.
Up 2-0 with fewer than four minutes remaining in the third period on Saturday, Minnesota was looking at a two-game sweep of Minnesota State Mankato and back-to-back shutouts for freshman goalie Eric Schierhorn after a 4-0 victory on Friday.
But the Mavericks scored a goal with 3:32 remaining in the third period and added a second one with 45 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Mankato completed its comeback with an even-strength goal by senior Teddy Blueger with 43 seconds left in overtime to stun the Gophers in their own arena.
“It’s brutal,” junior captain Justin Kloos told reporters after Saturday’s game. “Giving up a two-goal lead with four minutes left, [it] stings bad right now.”
The Gophers (4-5) had scored six unanswered goals against Mankato (6-6) in Friday and Saturday’s games, but the Mavericks responded when it mattered most to avoid being swept.
Minnesota was on its way to winning five of its last six, but instead the team lost its third home game of the season in five tries.
“That’s definitely a tough one,” junior defenseman Jake Bischoff told reporters after Saturday’s game. “The whole game it seems we have it under control and playing well, then all of a sudden they pop one in, and we start scrambling.”
Saturday’s game started out well for the Gophers. Kloos and freshman Tyler Sheehy closed out each period with a late goal, and Schierhorn had 17 saves by the end of the second period.
The team held a lead for most of the game, but mistakes led to the quick turnaround, head coach Don Lucia told reporters after Saturday’s
“[It’s] part of the learning process,” Lucia told reporters after Saturday’s game.
Friday’s game was a happier scene for the Gophers, as they scored three even-strength goals and one short-handed goal en route to a 4-0 victory over the Mavericks in the series opener.
Kloos scored in the first period, and juniors Taylor Cammarata and Vinni Lettieri scored their first goals of the season to set the score at 3-0.
Sophomore Leon Bristedt continued his hot start with his fifth goal of the season in the third period, and the Gophers won the game decisively thanks to a 31-save shutout by
“I’m comfortable in there,” Schierhorn told reporters after Friday’s game. “My defense did a good job again, so everything’s kind of working.”
Despite scoring six goals in the series, Minnesota converted just one of six power-play opportunities over the weekend.
The team is only scoring on 14.7 percent of its power plays so far this season.
Minnesota has now outscored its opponents 15-6 in its last four games, but the three goals they allowed on Saturday against Mankato quickly decided the game.
“I think we were just breaking down in different areas, little things on the ice that turned out to add up to big things,” Bischoff told reporters after Saturday’s game.