Everything seemed OK.

The Minnesota State men’s hockey team had a 2-0 lead late in the second period, a victory seeming well within reach.

Northern Michigan went on to score three unanswered goals, eventually defeating the Mavericks 3-2 in overtime Friday night in front of 4,344 fans at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.

“Tough one, we kind of gave them the game,” MSU defenseman Jake Livingstone said. “They deserved to win.”

It was the Mavericks’ first home loss since Oct. 9, 2021, a defeat at the hands of St. Cloud State. It was their first conference home loss since Jan. 25, 2020 to Bemidji State.

With the score tied 2-2, MSU went on the power play with 1:34 remaining in regulation. The Wildcats eventually killed the penalty in overtime, but MSU got another shot on the power play at 2:39 in OT when AJ Vanderbeck was sent off for slashing. That opportunity ended when MSU took a penalty at 1:12.

Coming out of the box, Vanderbeck found the puck on his stick in the slot and ended the game with a power-play goal at 3:20. It was his second goal of the game.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s been good in our league for a long time,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said of Vanderbeck. “He’s the guy that kind of makes them go, and he did that tonight.”

Rancier made a big glove save to rob Andre Ghantous two minutes into the game, which was the start of a trend. He made countless difficult saves at point-blank range throughout the night, including two on shorthanded breakaways.

“He was our best player tonight,” Livingstone said of Rancier. “We let him down. As a team, we’ve got to do better tomorrow, because if he’s going to stand on his head like that, we’ve got to make it a reward for him.”

Added Hastings: “I hope he takes a lot of confidence out of this, because without his efforts, we’re not in overtime.”

Will Hillman got MSU on the board first at 13:44 of the first period, tapping home a juicy rebound off a shot from Andy Carroll. Zach Krajnik also assisted on the goal.

The game’s first power play went to the Mavericks at 6:57 of the second, and Lucas Sowder made it 2-0, tipping home Livingstone’s point shot.

“I thought we were, let’s just say, efficient in our offense,” Hastings said. “Over the first half, I thought we were OK, and I thought Northern had probably the better of the play, but we found a way to get a few by them.”

MSU appeared to be in control late in the second, but Artem Shlaine got the Wildcats on the board at 17:03 with a power-play goal. At 19:03, Vanderbeck tied it with a shorthanded goal, firing a wrist shot past Rancier after getting a clean breakaway.

Shots on goal favored the Wildcats 34-24. Rancier made 31 saves.

The Mavericks (7-4, 4-1 in CCHA) will finish their series with the Wildcats at 6:07 p.m. Saturday at the Event Center.

Follow Kevin Dudley on Twitter @Dudley7Kevin.

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