MANKATO, Minn. - A major penalty called against Northern Michigan University in the third period derailed a comeback in the Wildcats' 3-2 loss at Minnesota State on Friday in WCHA play in Mankato, Minn.
The five-minute penalty for checking from behind was called on NMU sophomore forward Ryan Aynsley.
Northern fell behind 2-0 in the first period only to fight back and tie the game 29 seconds into the third.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard with 2:03 left in the first period when junior forward Reed Seckel scored his fifth goal of the season on a clean breakaway against Mavericks' goaltender Cole Huggins that was set up by a pass from junior forward Ryan Daugherty.
Wildcats freshman forward Shane Sooth tied the game with his first collegiate goal 29 seconds into the third period on the power play, with passes from freshman defenseman Brock Maschmeyer, junior defenseman Mitch Jones and Daugherty setting the rookie up for a clean shot.
Aynsley's major came at the 8:45 mark of the third, though a roughing-after-the-whistle penalty at the same time on MSU's Carter Foguth left both teams a man short for the first two minutes. When the Mavericks went on the man advantage for the final three minutes of Aynsley's penalty, Matt Leitner scored the game winner by splitting NMU junior forward Ryan Kesti and freshman defenseman Barrett Kaib on a rush to the NMU net.
MSU took a 2-0 lead by exploiting a Northern defense that is shorthanded due to injuries to two key players - senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig, who is out for the season, and junior defenseman Luke Eibler.
Mankato's Zach Stepan was left unchecked on an attack to put NMU down 1-0 6:11 into the game and Dylan Margonari made it 2-0 Mavericks by beating NMU redshirt freshman goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom, who was screened, with a shot to the far left post.
NMU was outshot 41-16 with Dahlstrom making 38 saves. MSU's Huggins finished with 16 stops.
NMU and MSU, who are meeting for the first time ever this weekend, play again today at 8:07 p.m. in Mankato.