The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

January 24, 2014

Mavericks fall to Duluth in North Star Cup

MSU falls to Minnesota Duluth in overtime

The Minnesota State men’s hockey team couldn’t avoid the big mistakes on Friday night.

Playing former WCHA foe Minnesota Duluth in the first game of the North Star College Cup at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, the Mavericks lost 5-4 in a wild overtime game that came down to a couple of blunders that led to the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Minnesota State goaltender Cole Huggins fumbled a puck he appeared to have frozen against his body, and Kyle Osterberg was on the spot to tie the game at 4-4 with 9:48 remaining in the third period.

In overtime, a boarding penalty by MSU defenseman Brett Stern led to freshman Alex Iafallo’s power-play winner with 26.5 seconds remaining.

Stern went to the box with 1:16 remaining in overtime. As the final seconds ticked down and the potential of a shootout loomed, the puck squirted out of scramble in front of Huggins and to an open Iafallo at the left post for the goal.

“It ended up this way: the last one with the puck won,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said. “They can make a play and move the puck on our stick in front of the net, and we didn’t get it cleared. A good hockey player, it goes on his stick and he didn’t make a mistake.”

The game went back and forth with each team scoring two power-play goals and a short-hander.

“We were OK,” Mavericks captain Johnny McInnis said. “But at this time of the year, OK’s not going to get it done. That’s something we are learning.”

The game was tied 3-3 after two periods. The Mavericks took a lead at 6:53 on Zach Lehrke’s short-handed breakaway out of the penalty box. It was the Mavericks’ first short-handed goal of the season.

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