NMU stops Mavericks 26 game home winning streak in overtime

Vanderbeck scores twice, game winner
 (NMU Graphic)
(NMU Graphic) (WLUC)
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 12:36 AM EST
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MANKATO, Minn. (WLUC) - The Wildcats traveled to Mankato, Minnesota for a heavyweight bout against the Mavericks that saw the Wildcats win a thriller in overtime by a score of 3-2. Two milestones were reached in the game, as Andrea Ghantous hit the century mark in career points (33-67-100) and AJ Vanderbeck registered goal 50 on his career (50-48-98).

1st Period The Wildcats got off to a hot start with a two-on-one two minutes into the game, but the MSU netminder made a highlight reel save to keep the ‘Cats off the board early. The ‘Cats played sound defensively and took away space from the Mavericks, limiting MSU to two (2) shots and very few chances halfway through the frame.Mankato put the puck towards the net and a fortunate bounce landed on the stick of an MSU player with a wide open net to make it 1-0 with six minutes to go in the first. Shortly after the ‘Cats got another two-on-one, but the puck hopped over the stick of Zach Michaelis. Despite the Wildcats having several good looks, the score remained 1-0 MSU going into the intermission. The ‘Cats led 10-8 in shots.

2nd Period Mankato started period two with a two-on-one of their own, but a great sliding play from captain Tanner Vescio denied the pass from getting across. Off of some good offensive pressure, the ‘Cats beat the netminder but the puck rang off the iron and the score remained the same. Northern took a penalty halfway through the frame, Alex Frye found himself on a short handed breakaway, but was denied. The Mavericks would go on to score on that power-play off a deflection in the slot to make the game 2-0. The ‘Cats found themselves on their first powerplay of the night just under halfway through the frame, sustained pressure but were eventually unsuccessful. A few minutes later and the Wildcats were on the man advantage again, this time finding the back of the net off the stick of Artem Shlaine as he found a rebound from an Andre Ghantous shot. The ‘Cats took a penalty, but AJ Vanderbeck found himself behind the defense for a breakaway and made no mistake to bury it low glove to tie the game at two. The score remained 2-2 going into the third period, the ‘Cats out shooting the ‘Mavs 23-16.

3rd Period The third frame started with more defense, as tight checking limited both teams offensive opportunities in the first few minutes. The ‘Cats took another penalty with about 15 minutes left and another short handed breakaway as Ghantous was all alone but couldn’t convert. The Wildcats eventually kill the penalty. A puck found its way through the wicketts of the MSU netminder, trickled out the otherside, came back through the crease again, but the ‘Cats couldn’t find the back of the net and the score remained tied. MSU got a short handed breakaway of their own, but Beni Halasz shut the door and the score remained at two a piece.A scramble in the MSU crease with three minutes to go was pounced on by the netminder before the ‘Cats could deposit the puck into the net. The Wildcats took a penalty with a minute and thirty-five seconds to go in the period and successfully bring the game to overtime.2-2, the Wildcats led in shots 34-22.

Overtime The ‘Cats thought they scored off a turnover caused by AJ Vanderbeck, but it was immediately waved off as the officials ruled Vanderbeck took a penalty to get the puck.The ‘Cats kill a majority of the penalty before Mankato takes a penalty with 36 seconds left in the Wildcats penalty. AJ Vanderbeck stepped out of the box, snuck into the high slot, Andre Ghantous fed him the puck and he made no mistake to score the game winner. The overtime winner marked 50 goals for AJ on his collegiate career, and Andrea’s primary assist elevated him to the 100 point mark in his collegiate career.