C.J. Seuss scored 27 seconds into overtime as Minnesota State beat UAH 3-2 on Friday night at the Von Braun Center.
The fifth-ranked Mavericks (22-7-0 overall, 18-5-0 WCHA) had tied the game at 2-2 with 2:10 left in regulation to win their sixth straight game and deny the Chargers a major upset.
UAH (10-19-2 overall, 9-14-2 WCHA) had quickly erased a 1-0 deficit with two goals on their first two shots of the third period, looking to end a 24-game winless streak against Minnesota State dating back to 2002.
The Chargers remain in sixth place in the WCHA with Alaska’s loss to Northern Michigan, who stayed one point ahead of Minnesota State atop the league standings.
The series finale is Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.
The Mavericks exercised their will with the puck early on, but could not find the net despite getting the first eight shots on Jordan Uhelski.
UAH did start to get in a groove late in the first, making MSU goaltender Connor LaCouvee get to work. The Chargers, thanks in part to a late power play, were able to pull even in shots, 10-10, at the end of the period.
The Mavericks dominated possession in the second period, outshooting the Chargers 17-2. They got help from four UAH penalties, including back-to-back calls against Tyler Poulsen and Brandon Parker that put MSU up two men with over a minute.
UAH survived that surge, thanks to Uhelski. Among his 16 saves in the period included an odd-man rush with Marc Michaelis out of the box after a Charger power play, a C.J. Seuss shorthanded chance on that same power play, and denying Brad McClure, Mcihaelis, and Seuss back-to-back-to-back in a matter of seconds.
However, Uhelski could not stop them all. With 4:22 left in the second, Uhelski saved a Dallas Gerads shot, but the rebound came right to a unabated, driving Parker Tuomie in the slot. Tumoie pounced and scored for a 1-0 Minnesota State lead.
UAH came out for the third period with two goals on two shots to quickly take the lead.
Kurt Gosselin scored his fifth goal of the season at the 1:14 mark, assisted by Jordan Larson (his first point of the season) and Hans Gorowsky (his seventh helper).
At 2:35, freshman Christian Rajic beat LaCouvee from the right circle for his ninth goal of the season. Madison Dunn and Josh Kestner with the assists.
UAH tried to survive the Maverick barrage as long as they could, but MSU tied the game with 2:10 left in regulation. Parker Tuomie found Marc Michaelis in the slot, and his deflection beat Uhelski high.
That set up Seuss and his 16th goal of the season on MSU’s first shot on goal in overtime, giving the Mavericks the sigh of relief. It was the first overtime game for MSU this season.
Uhelski finished with 39 saves, the fifth straight game he has made 30 or more. UAH was outshot 42-19.