MANKATO — In a game that will be remembered for a bizarre sequence of events and the invocation of a rarely used rule, the 11th-ranked Minnesota State men’s hockey team fell 4-3 in overtime to a red-hot Wisconsin team on Friday night.Senior defenseman John Ramage scored with 32 seconds remaining in the extra frame to improve his team’s unbeaten streak to nine games and give the Badgers their first overtime win since 2006.
“That was a WCHA playoff type of game,” said Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings, whose team lost at home for the first time in seven games. “You’re going to have to keep competing. Nobody’s going to go away; we didn’t go away.”
Matt Leitner scored two goals for the Mavericks, including a wrap-around goal with 1:51 left in the third period that tied the game and forced overtime. Tyler Elbrecht scored MSU’s other goal. It was the first of the season for the senior defenseman and just the third of his career. It tied the game at 2-all at the 8:59 mark of the third.
In between came something that neither Hastings, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves nor probably anyone else in the crowd of 3,468 at the Verizon Wireless Center had seen before.
With 9:20 remaining in regulation, a pile-up occurred in the Minnesota State net. Mavericks freshman goalie Stephon Williams appeared hurt on the play but was preparing to stay in the game.
However, when the referees sorted everything out, they assessed Williams with a major penalty for facemasking, as he pulled off the helmet of Wisconsin’s Jefferson Dahl. By rule, a goalie must serve a major penalty (along with a skater who can enter the game on the fly), so Williams went to the penalty box, and Phil Cook game in for the first time since Nov. 9.