“(Gaede) has had a lot of opportunities, and it just hasn’t fallen for him,” Hastings said. “But he’s an honest player. That goal did as much for our bench, at a really important time, as anything. Not just scoring the goal but who scored it.”
The fourth-line wing said he hasn’t been too worried about not scoring.
“All I care about is making sure I don’t get scored on,” he said. “The goals will come. …
“As long as we play as a family, four lines deep, everyone on the same page, I don’t see another team beating us.”
Omaha picked up the pace in the second period and had 13 shots on Stephon Williams. The freshman goalie finished the game with 26 saves, stopping two breakaways in the process.
Omaha’s only goal came with 1:17 left in the second period when Josh Archibald’s shot from the wall deflected off Dominic Zombo’s skates and slid through the goalie’s pads, making it a 2-1 game going into the third.
Minnesota State, however, has learned to take a punch, and it countered with its first full power play of the game at 4:30 of the final frame.
Leitner fired in a beautiful backhand pass from Jean-Paul LaFontaine, who faked out the defense with a move behind the goal line. Eriah Hayes also assisted on the goal.
“Matt Leitner has got a lot of will,” Hastings said. “(He’s a) prideful kid, and I’m really happy for him because he went the extra mile tonight. … We need those guys to be difference makers if we’re going to do anything here going forward.”
With the win, Minnesota State also may have secured a berth into the NCAA tournament as it moved up to No. 10 in the Pairwise Rankings Sunday night.