The Mavericks top Bowling Green after a miracle comeback to win the WCHA title
The Mavericks won their fourth WCHA championship on Saturday against the Bowling Green Falcons, 3-2, in dramatic fashion in front of 5,327 fans in attendance at the Verizon Center after overcoming a 2-0 deficit late in the game.
The first period proved to be a frustrating one for Maverick fans, as the home team struggled with controlling the puck on passes. As a result, Bowling Green controlled the puck for most of the period, and culminated in a Falcon goal with five minutes to play in the period. MSu got a power play near the end of the period, but was stifled by the Falcon defense.
The second period was just as infuriating for the Mavericks, but the same problems would arise for the Falcons. Each team would get only six shots on goal in the period, but again the Falcons were controlling the game. The Mavs got two power plays in the period, but only got one shot off on each one. MSU was still in the game, however, as the score held at 1-0 going into the intermission.
Just over a minute into the period, a contentious game misconduct penalty was called on junior Edwin Hookenson, which led to a major penalty along with Hookenson’s ejection.
Eight seconds into the period, Bowling Green extended their lead to 2-0. The Mavericks held the line after the goal, and made it through the penalty intact. However, they continued to fail at getting close to the goal, and restlessness began to converge on the MSU fans.
With just over three minutes to play, the decision was made to pull freshman goalie Dryden McKay. As some fans began to leave the arena, MSU began to work the puck in towards the Falcons’ goal. Their patience in finding a shot paid off with 1:44 to play, when sophomore Jake Jaremko snuck one into the back of the net.
Still down one, McKay again left the ice when MSU won the faceoff for the puck. With 56 seconds to play, sophomore Connor Mackey got the puck out near the blue line and somehow got the puck to sneak into the net. With the score evened up, the Verizon Center roared to its feet as the game would be sent into overtime.
With new life, MSU stumbled out of the gate in overtime as the Falcons got the first shot at the goal. MSU successfully repelled the attack, and quickly made their way down the ice. Just 1:37 into the extra period, senior Nick Rivera got the puck at point-blank range and put in the game-winner as the Mavericks won 3-2.
With the victory, MSU clinched a 1-seed for the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, the Mavs arguably got the worst draw in the entire tournament. Playing in the East Region in Providence, the Mavericks were matched up with the Providence Friars in the first round. This essentially makes the first round game a home game for the Friars, as the Mavericks will look for their first ever D1 tournament victory.
The game against Providence will take place Saturday at 12 pm. You can catch the game televised on ESPNews.
Header photo courtesy of Maverick Athletics.