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Nov. 3, 2012
MANKATO, Minn. - Despite a goal and two assists from junior forward Erik Haula, the No. 2 Minnesota men's hockey program fell to Minnesota State 5-3 on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Center in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action.
For the first time this season, Minnesota (5-2-0 overall, 2-2-0 WCHA) was outshot by its opponent as the Mavericks put 35 shots on net to the Gophers' 28. And for the second night in a row, Minnesota found itself in a hole twice on Saturday night.
Minnesota State (3-3-2, 1-3-0) tallied a pair of first period goals in the game's first 10 minutes in route to the program's first WCHA win of the season. Josh Nelson and Zach Lehrke gave the Mavericks a two-goal lead with goals at 6:20 and 9:54, respectively, with Lehrke's goal coming on the power-play.
In a showing of incredible individual effort, Haula cut the lead to a single goal at 16:20 of the first with a diving goal to briefly take sole possession of the team goal lead with his fourth of the year. Christian Isackson and Nate Condon set up the goal and earned assists on the play.
Nick Bjugstad would bring the game back to even just 56 seconds into the second period -- also his fourth goal of the year - when Haula and Nate Schmidt set up the junior forward in front of the Mavericks' net for Minnesota's only power-play goal of the night. Minnesota would end the night 1-for-5 on the power play while the home squad went 1-for-6.
The two in-state conference rivals would swap goals midway through the second just 36 seconds apart. Minnesota State regained the lead at 12:14 when Johhny McInnis let the lamp, and Condon popped in his own rebound moments later at 12:40 with assists from Haula and senior defenseman Seth Helgeson. The assist from the Gophers' lone senior marked Helgeson's first point of the season.
Unlike Friday night's 3-2 Minnesota win, where the Gophers where able to secure their first lead of the game in the third period, Saturday's finale had a disappointing ending for the visitors. Dylan Margonari tacked in the eventual game-winning goal at 16:19 of the third, and Jean-Paul Lafontaine added an empty netter with 11 seconds left to seal the win.
Adam Wilcox suffered his first collegiate loss with a 30-save performance in net for Minnesota. The rookie moved to 4-1-0 on the season. Phil Cook picked up the win to improve to 3-2-1 with a 25-save night.
For the second night in a row, Minnesota held a clear advantage in the faceoff circle at 40-27. Bjugstad led Minnesota on the draw, going 11-5 while Tom Serratore went 5-1 on the dot.
Minnesota returns to action next weekend with a WCHA series at Alaska Anchorage.
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