HOUGHTON, Mich. – Minnesota State tied up the best-of-three WCHA Semifinal series with a 1-0 win over Michigan Tech Saturday night from the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The two teams will meet in the decisive Game 3 at 7:07 p.m. Sunday to determine who will advance to the WCHA Tournament Championship Game.
Waiting for the winner of the series is the Bowling Green State Falcons who upset top seed Bemidji State, sweeping the Beavers 4-3 in OT Friday and 2-1 Saturday.
"They were the desperate team tonight," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "They played much better and it started with their fore-check. We never got in sync all game. We spent too much time in our zone, and we just didn't generate any chances tonight."
Zeb Knutson scored the game's only goal 6:29 into the second period, going in on a breakaway and putting in his 15th of the season. Clint Lewis assisted with a long stretch pass.
Michael Neville rushed the net moments later. The puck was loose in the crease and Leibinger got a whack at it but MSU goaltender Jason Pawloski kept the zero on the board.
Tech then went on a power play with 62 seconds remaining after Mark Auk was hauled down. Coach Pearson used his timeout and pulled goaltender Angus Redmond, but the Maverick defense held on to force Sunday's game.
"There's not a lot of free ice out there," Neville said. "You're battling for every inch whether it's faceoffs or dump ins. Guys are battling and guys are working hard. It's hockey. We just got to come back and play a good game tomorrow night."
MSU held Tech to a season-low 15 shots on goal while taking 23. Redmond finished with 22 saves for the second night in a row. Pawloski registered his second shutout of the season.
The Mavericks thought they took the lead earlier in the game when they scored with 3:56 left in the first period on the power play. Officials reviewed the play and waived off the goal after determining there was contact with Redmond.
Both teams had four minor penalties and both were 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
Suites are available for Sunday's Game 3. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tickets are on sale at the SDC Ticket Office, over the phone at 906-487-2073, or online at BuyHuskiesTickets.com.
The winner of the game will host the WCHA Tournament Championship Game on Saturday, March 18. Both teams are seeded higher than No. 4 Bowling Green.
GAME NOTES: The loss snaps a seven-game home playoff win streak and a three-game unbeaten streak against MSU…Tech is 1-2 all-time against MSU in the playoffs…Tech's previous low for shots on goal this season was 21 (three times)…Tyler Heinonen led the team with three shots on goal…Tech is 10-4-4 at home this season.