Here's the story from Sunday's Free Press:
By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
MINNEAPOLIS – For nearly 15 minutes, the Minnesota State men’s hockey team could not ignore history.
Preserve a one-goal lead, and they’d secure the program’s first-ever weekend sweep of Minnesota. Hold on, and they’d win a game in Mariucci Arena for the first time in a decade.
“It’s nervous. It’s exciting. It’s so many things,” said junior forward James Gaulrapp, whose short-handed goal in the first period ended up as the game-winning goal in the Mavericks’ 3-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association upset over the fifth-ranked Gophers.
“It’s a great feeling. You don’t want to let it go. It’s pretty awesome.”
Following Friday night’s 6-2 win in Mankato, the Mavericks opened up a 2-0 lead on goals by Kurt Davis and Gaulrapp in the first period. Goaltender Mike Zacharias stopped 29 shots, and Zach Harrison sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 12.7 seconds left in the game.
While the win – just the fifth over the Gophers since the teams first played in 1997 – had historical significance, the Mavericks (13-13-3, 9-11-2 in WCHA) called it more important for the current season.
“I think (history) is for the fans,” coach Troy Jutting said. “We come out and try hard to beat everyone we play. This was four points in the league right now. It’s more important that the kids are starting to understand how to play and do what they need to do to be successful.”]
The Mavericks moved back into the Pairwise Rankings and within one point of the Gophers in the league standings. The sweep followed a stretch in which they won just three of 13 games.
“The biggest thing was for us to get back on track,” Gaulrapp said.
Saturday’s game followed a raucous series opener that had more than 90 minutes worth of penalties, including four majors, and two ejections.
But the Mavericks maintained a physical, yet disciplined game. Jutting said that was emphasized before the opening faceoff.
“We came here to win a hockey game,” Jutting said. “That other stuff wasn’t important.”
The Mavericks took eight penalties, and the Gophers took 10, including two more majors.
Davis’ goal came on the power play at 11:24 when he fired the rebound of a Geoff Irwin shot behind goalie Alex Kangas (28 saves).
Gaulrapp scored while killing a penalty, poking the puck out of the defensive zone and fighting off Gophers Jake Hansen and Patrick White before shoving a backhanded shot behind Kangas.
“I was going to go as hard as I can no matter what,” Gaulrapp said.
Early in the second period, two Gophers –Nico Sacchetti and captain Ryan Stoa – received major penalties and game misconducts for checking from behind less than two minutes apart. The Mavericks failed to score but didn’t allow Minnesota to grab too much momentum from the partisan crowd of 10,187.
The Gophers ended Zacharias’ shutout bid at 5:09 of the third period when Patrick White put in his own rebound after a nice feed from Ryan Flynn.
From there, the Mavericks held on to history. They were outshot 12-5 in the period and killed off a penalty along the way.
“It’s fun. It’s why we play – for those pressure situations,” Zacharias said.
Irwin had two assists, including a nifty feed to Harrison for the empty-netter. The Mavericks won the regular-season series over the Gophers with a 2-1-1 mark.
“This is really special,” senior defenseman Brian Kilburg said. “It’s something we haven’t done – not only to get the sweep but to do it in their barn. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish.
The Mavericks will be idle next weekend and will return to action Feb. 13-14 at North Dakota.