My intention tonight was to write a story on the Spirit of the Maverick trophy. It’s why I came down here. And with the teams tied at 1 headed to overtime, it looked like I was going to get the perfect scenario for such a story — a tie. An outcome where neither coach would be too overjoyed or disappointed and would be more than happy to engage in some rivalry trophy chatter…
Then overtime happened.
First, the important stuff. Under a minute into the extra session, UNO goaltender Ryan Massa was struck in the crease by Minnesota State defenseman Evan Mosey. Mosey was ridden into the goal by a Omaha defender and there was contact in the crease. Massa was motionless on the ice for several minutes and medical personnel was quick to get to him on the ice. After a delay of about 15 minutes, Massa was taken off the ice on a stretcher, and presumably taken to the hospital.
UNO head coach Dean Blais left the arena quickly after the game and was unavailable for comment. WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod, who spoke quickly with Blais as he left, said Massa was moving. He mentioned the possibility that Massa had been knocked out, which looked like what happened from the press box.
You hate to speculate on anything, especially with an injury like this. But clearly, if Massa was moving his extremities, that’s good news. Hopefully the stretcher was a precaution and Massa will be back on the ice soon.
Onto the game, not much had happened until that point. UNO scored in the first period. MSU scored in the third period. In between, it was a pretty boring game. Following the injury to Massa, freshman Dayn Belfour entered and immediately took a shot on goal. A scrum in front led to pushing and shoving, a punch and a penalty on MSU’s Adam Mueller. He was sent to the box for slashing. UNO got a power play and converted about a minute later.
A big two points for the red Mavericks, who pull within three points of Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth for the top spot in the WCHA standings. Colorado College beat the Gophers tonight, and the Tigers sit in third, two points back of the top spot. Duluth beat Alabama-Huntsville tonight, so their spot in the standings remains the same.
The MSU locker room was pretty dejected. I’ve covered Troy Jutting for a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so disappointed. It was certainly a missed opportunity for the purple Mavs tonight, as penalties have just killed this team this year. They lead the WCHA in penalty minutes this year. Tonight, MSU took two penalties to kill power plays and one that lost the game. Ish…
Around the league, don’t sleep on St. Cloud State. The Huskies are healing up and if they can cap the sweep over North Dakota Saturday, SCSU will be a top-half team. I’ve been as big a believer in North Dakota’s ability to make a second half run as anybody… but with its injury situation, I just don’t see how it’s possible this year. Home ice will be a tough chore for UND.
Minnesota continues its Friday night struggles. Now a game under .500 since starting 9-1. Somehow, Minnesota has remained a first place team. The Gophers are 16th in the Pairwise right now, which is on the outside looking in of the NCAA Tournament. In mid-November, the Gophers looked like they were back. This version looks an awful lot like the ones from the last few years.
I am going to try and get to Mariucci Arena for a spell tomorrow… Hockey Day Minnesota and the Wild in town means I have NHL duties to handle tomorrow night. Fortunately, the Gophers start at 5 and the Wild at 8.