Mankato, Minn. --- Sophomore forward Chase Grant scored at 7:04 of overtime as Minnesota State generated a 4-3 home victory over Nebraska Omaha in the first game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association play-offs.
Nebraska Omaha opened up the scoring in the first period on a goal scored by senior forward Brent Gwidt, who collected a rebound in front of the net and jammed the puck past MSU freshman goaltender Stephon Williams at 5:16. MSU answered right back on a power play goal scored by sophomore defenseman Zach Palmquist, whose shot from above the dots beat Nebraska Omaha senior goaltender John Faulkner at 17:06.
MSU took a 2-1 lead second period while on the power play off a shot by sophomore forward Jean-Paul Lafontaine at 03:47. The goal by Lafontaine is his ninth of the season. UNO came back to tie the game after junior forward Matt White skated into the offensive zone and backhanded a shot that went by Williams at 05:53. It became a 3-2 UNO lead on a goal from the WCHA's top scorer, Ryan Walters, who wristed a shot from between the circles, that beat Williams high over the glove side at 18:24.
MSU tied the game in the third period on a goal scored by freshman forward Bryce Gervais, off a cross ice feed from Lafontaine at 09:39. Gervais now has two goals and five assists in MSU's last ten games.
Sophomore forward Chase Grant ended the game at 07:04 when he took a feed from Lafontaine and wired a shot that beat Faulkner high on the stickside. The tally is Grant's fifth career game winning goal and fourth this year.
Dating back to the 2002-03 season, Minnesota State has now played in five consecutive home WCHA play-off games. MSU downed Wisconsin 6-2 in two overtime games to clinch a first round series win in 2002-03 and then played three straight overtime games vs. Minnesota the last time the Mavericks hosted a WCHA first-round series in 2007-08.
Jean-Paul Lafontaine had a three-point night with a goal and two assists and defenseman Zach Palmquist contributed a goal and an assist as the Mavericks won for the ninth time in the last 12 games.
The Mavericks up their 2012-13 record to 23-11-2 overall, with tonight's win, while UNO drops to 18-17-2.
Nebraska Omaha outshot MSU 35-34 on the night and MSU went two-for-four on the power play. Nebraska Omaha was one-for-three on power play chances and the game was played in front of 2,855 fans at Verizon Wireless Center.
The two teams play game two of the WCHA first round playoff series tomorrow night with a facoff scheduled for 7:07 pm.