Chase Grant scored at 7:04 of overtime to give Minnesota State a 4-3 win over UNO in game one of a best-of-three WCHA first round playoff series Friday night in Mankato.
Game two of the series will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday. UNO will need to win to force a deciding game three on Sunday.
On the game-winning goal, the Mavs got trapped deep in the Minnesota State zone leading to a 3-on-2 rush the other way. J.P. Lafontaine carried the puck down the right wing and found Grant trailing the play. He fired a hard wrist shot over the blocker hand of UNO goaltender John Faulkner to send the crowd of 2,855 into celebration.
The Mavericks led 3-2 after two periods, but Minnesota State tied the game at 9:39 of the third. Bryce Gervais scooped up a pass from Lafontaine and fired home a shot from a sharp angle.
The loss spoiled a strong effort for a UNO team that had struggled entering the playoffs. The Mavs struck first at 5:16 of the first period. Zahn Raubenheimer fed the puck to Brent Gwidt, who was stationed in front of the Minnesota State net. His first shot was stopped, but he banged in his own rebound for his eighth goal of the year.
Minnesota State tied the game against UNO's beleaguered penalty killing unit. With the Mavs down five-on-three, Zach Palmquist fired a shot through traffic that slipped under Faulkner at 17:06.
The “Purple” Mavericks took their first lead of the game on a power play early in the second period. With another penalty about to be called against UNO and MSU enjoying a 6-on-4 advantage, Lafontaine roofed a pass from Zach Palmquist for his ninth goal of the year.
UNO tied the game a little more than two minutes later. Matt White stole the puck and raced up the right side, cut toward the net and fired in a backhander just under the crossbar to make it 2-2.
The Mavs regained the lead late in the middle period on a power play. Dominic Zombo took a crunching hit as he moved into the Minnesota State zone, but pushed the puck ahead to Andrej Sustr, who found Ryan Walters trailing the play and Walters wired the puck over the glove hand of goaltender Stephon Williams to put UNO up 3-2 after two.