The final Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at World Arena is one Tiger fans would like to forget.
Too many penalties, several in a row at times, eventually caught up to Colorado College as No. 9 Minnesota State-Mankato scored three power-play goals in 50 seconds late in the second period en route to a 7-2 win.
“It is a game you definitely want to forget,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens, whose team will be on the road in the WCHA playoffs. “We are one of the least-penalized teams in the league. This was a real aberration. We need to learn from it.”
The decisive spurt came after CC (13-16-5, 10-12-4 WCHA) killed off a season-best 14 power plays in a row, including two 5-on-3s, to keep the game scoreless.
After CC senior Rylan Schwartz scored with 2:46 remaining during 4-on-3 action to make it 2-1, MSU (21-10-3, 15-10-1) went back on a 5-minute power play.
Matt Leitner scored with 1:03 and 13 seconds left with a goal by Josh Nelson in between to take a 5-1 lead. With that final score, Leitner recorded a hat trick, all in the second period, and pushed the Mavs into a tie with Wisconsin for fourth with two games left in the regular season.
“This is the time of year you need your sophomores to play like seniors,” Mavs coach Mike Hastings said.
Four of the seven Maverick goals came with the man advantage, a night after CC shut down Division I’s third-rated power play (33 percent). MSU finished 4-for-16 on the night and 4-for-19 for the series.
Johnny McInnis’ goal with 8:09 left in the third was the first during 5-on-5 play followed by CC freshman Peter Maric’s first tally with 3:07 left for the final margin.
A scoreless game spiraled out of control for eighth-place Colorado College (13-16-5, 10-12-4) with 27 penalty minutes over the final 3:35 of the first period, including a game misconduct for junior defenseman Eamonn McDermott.
MSU had 2:01 of 5-on-3 advantage early in the second period and a 5-on-4 advantage for 1:29 afterward. CC managed to kill off boths, prompting the announced crowd of 7,052 to cheer.
“I thought CC had all the momentum at that point,” Hastings said. “Luckily, we got a seeing-eye goal and that turned things around.”
A delayed penalty Mankato scored on to go up 2-0 included a game misconduct on sophomore Ian Young, leaving CC two defensemen short.
“That left you with four defensemen and they’re being overextended and overexposed,” Owens said. “It was just a bad recipe.”