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November 1, 2008 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

For Gophers and Mavericks, 65 Minutes Still Not Enough

Nine of last 11 games between rivals have been decided by one goal or less

by Dan Myers/CHN Staff

When Minnesota State defenseman Cameron Cooper scored the tying goal with nine minutes and change remaining Friday night against Minnesota at Mariucci Arena, everyone in the arena seemed to know the game was destined for overtime.

"Surprise, surprise," said Minnesota coach Don Lucia.

"Another overtime game," Minnesota State head coach Troy Jutting said. "Four in a row."

Like they did in last season's WCHA playoffs, the Mavericks and Gophers went back and forth Friday night, as the Gophers led on three different occasions but could not get two points. It was a good tie for the Mavericks, who were outshot 50-29. Mike Zacharias made 47 saves for MSU, and looked like it after the game.

With 3:29 remaining in overtime, Zacharias stopped a slapshot from the point which knocked off his mask. Teammate Kurt Davis' stick hit the senior in the forehead, opening a cut that required six stitches to close after the game.

Halloween night at Mariucci Arena, where even the cheerleaders had costumes on. Now, even Zacharias looked the part.

"Guess I have my costume now," he joked after the game. The injury at first, however, looked much more serious than it was. After the whistle blew, Zacharias leaded over and blood gushed from his head. As he skated to the bench, he looked like the star of a Martin Scorsese horror movie. He also had a shiny egg the size of a golf ball protruding from his head.

But as soon as it happened, Zacharias said he wanted to get back in the game.

"They said I didn't have a concussion," Zacharias said. "Obviously, at that stage, I didn't want to come out of the game."

Things were less eventful on the other side of the rink, where Alex Kangas patched together a solid 26 save performance. But after the game, the feeling outside the Gopher locker room was that of disappointment — almost like a loss.

"When you're playing at home, nothing but a win is acceptable," said Minnesota forward Jay Barriball, who had a goal and an assist on the night. "All the guys in the locker room aren't pleased with a tie and we're gonna come out hungry tomorrow."

Jutting was pleased with his team's guttiness — no pun intended — in erasing a number of deficits and gaining a point on the road.

"We battled back a couple of times," he said. "But I was disappointed with the way we played the first two periods. I thought Minnesota played well and we did not. I thought we watched them play hockey for two periods."

The scene shifts to the Xcel Energy Center Saturday as the two teams will look to, finally, settle their differences in a 60 minute contest. But fans hoping for a timely exit from the Minnesota College Hockey Showcase probably shouldn't keep their hopes up.

"We know it's probably going to be another tight one tomorrow," Lucia said.
 

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