The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 9, 2013

Mavericks clinch home ice for WCHA playoffs



Williams stopped 30 shots, including three in overtime. His quick glove snagged several quick shots by UND’s freshman phenom, Rocco Grimaldi, throughout the game. He also stymied a 2-on-1 rush in the second period and had a nifty poke check on a Michael Parks breakaway in the third.

“(North Dakota) came hard,” Hastings said. “Stephon did a phenomenal job keeping them at one.”

The Mavericks looked like they were in trouble early on.

Just 63 seconds into the game, Williams mishandled a shot by Brendan O’Donnell and the puck fell into the crease behind him. Danny Kristo swooped in before Williams could track down the puck and tapped it in for the quick 1-0 lead.

North Dakota dominated the period from there, outshooting the Mavericks 15-7, but Williams didn’t let that early error bother him.

“You just gotta forget about it,” said Williams, who won his 19th game. “You gotta refocus and give your team a shot. You have to pretend like nothing happened.”

The Mavericks had a better showing in the second and looked like they were going to go into the third still down 1-0.

But with 25.9 seconds to go, freshman Dylan Margonari tied the game. Keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 with LaFontaine, Margonari beat goalie Gothberg, who was also outstanding with 35 saves, at the far post as he dashed in from the left circle.

The overtime winner came off a faceoff in the UND end, with Eriah Hayes moving the puck across to LaFontaine behind the net. Knowles was left open on the weak side, and LaFontaine made the perfect pass across the goal mouth to him for the winner.

“It felt pretty good,” Knowles said.

Tickets for next weekend's playoff series — Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) — go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

North Dakota         1-0-0-0—1

Minnesota State    0-1-0-1—2

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