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David Silye's hat trick sparks wild win for Minnesota State over St. Thomas

The Mavericks beat the Tommies 4-3 in a game that featured a hat trick, three major penalties – one of which was a game misconduct – a coach’s challenge and a goalie change.

minnesota state and St. Thomas hockey players on the ice
Minnesota State's David Silye, left, and St. Thomas' Lucas Wahlin battle outside of a faceoff during a game Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights, Minn.
Shannon Stieg / Special to The Rink Live

MANKATO, Minn. – There have been plenty of strange college hockey games played at the Mankato’s Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center. Because of the circumstances, the CCHA title game between Minnesota State and Bemidji State will always be No. 1.

But Saturday night’s regular-season game between the Mavericks and visiting St. Thomas might be a strong contender for the second-strangest game ever played here.

The Mavericks beat the Tommies 4-3 in a game that featured a hat trick, three major penalties – one of which was a game misconduct – a coach’s challenge and a goalie change.

All of that happened just during the first period – one that took 55 minutes of actual time due to all the reviews, penalties and goals.

“There was kind of a weird flow to that game,” said MSU forward David Silye, whose natural hat trick had given the Mavericks a 3-1 first-period lead. Silye scored three straight goals (at 6:31, 11:18 and 16:56 of the first) to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. “Might go down as the longest game in history, some of the guys were joking about. But I was proud of the guys for sticking with it. A lot of guys stepped up, so I’m happy with the way it finished up.”

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Silye, who had a goal and an assist in Friday’s 7-2 win against St. Thomas, also had a hat trick against the Tommies last season in the Hockey Day Minnesota outdoor game.

“They just seem to be one of those teams where the puck seems to bounce right in front of me,” said Silye, the junior from Amprior, Ontario, who now has a team-high seven goals on the season. “I’m going to keep rolling with it and not overthink it.”

Saturday’s game had a much different feel to it than Friday’s game in Mendota Heights. In that one, the teams were tied 2-2 going into the third period but the Mavs scored five unanswered to run away with it.

That didn’t happen on Saturday, although for a moment after Silye completed his hat trick, it looked likely. Minnesota State (7-3-0, 4-0-0) had scored two of their three goals on the power play – both on five-minute majors. Jake Braccini (who had given the Tommies an early 1-0 lead) had a five-minute penalty for boarding, while slightly later in the period the refs whistled St. Thomas’ Josh Eernisse for contact to the head.

With 3:04 left in the first, Silye’s third goal – cleaning up a rebound after Luc Wilson’s initial shot went off Tommies’ goalie Ethan Roberts’ right pad – might have, under normal circumstances, led to a blowout. After all, the Mavs still had plenty of time left on the five-minute power play.

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Before a sellout crowd of 4,913 at home, the Mavericks also got a goal and an assist from defenseman Akito Hirose and a 16-save winning performance from Keenan Rancier.

Just seconds after Silye completed his hat trick, the teams got into a scuffle behind the net. When the refs finally sorted everything out, they determined Maverick senior Ryan Sandelin committed a five-minute major cross-checking penalty and assessed him a game misconduct, as well as a separate two minutes for roughing. The Tommies’ Ethan Gauer was also called for roughing.

That made the penalty boxes a little crowded, but it also gave the Tommies their opportunity to get back into the game in a 4-on-4 situation. Luke Manning helped them get started, wristing a shot past MSU starting goaltender Alex Tracy in transition to make it 3-2. That was the end of the night for Tracy, who MSU head coach Mike Hastings removed from the game following that goal in favor of Keenen Rancier

“I thought it was time to shake the tree a little bit,” Hastings said. “I thought Rance has done a good enough job that I have a lot of confidence in him too, so when those two went in when they did I decided to go with Rancier.”

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There was kind of a weird flow to that game. Might go down as the longest game in history, some of the guys were joking about. But I was proud of the guys for sticking with it.
Minnesota State forward David Silye

The Tommies nearly got a third goal, too, when Lucas Whalin finished off a tic-tac-toe power play chance past Rancier. That goal, however, was eventually called back after MSU head coach Mike Hastings reviewed it for offside.

“I’m so proud of the way they reacted to that,” St. Thomas head coach Rico Blasi said of his team’s reaction to the first period. “We could have easily folded, and they could have easily scored three or four, but we did a pretty good job of not doing that. And then fighting back, punching back. I thought our guys came back hard. We tied it up, and unfortunately it was offsides, but we fought hard tonight and that’s all we can ask.”

The period ended – finally – a few minutes later, with Minnesota State clinging to a 3-2 lead. By comparison, the second period was a breeze. There was no scoring, few whistles, and neither team was penalized until late in the frame when both MSU’s Mason Wheeler and the Tommies’ Lucas Whallin went to the box for interference penalties 20 seconds apart.

MSU’s Lucas Sowder scored 58 seconds into the third to make it 4-2, but the Tommies had one more push. Luc Laylin fired a slapshot past MSU goaltender Keenan Rancier with 8:06 to go to again make it a one-goal game. The final eight minutes were back-and-forth, with the Mavericks nearly scoring on the empty net several times.

The game ended in dramatic fashion: There was a faceoff in front of Rancier with 2.5 seconds to go. The Tommies won the draw and got the puck to Braccini, who had a perfect one-timer that went off the glove of Rancier and away from the net as the horn sounded.

“I’m happy with the guys, who did a really good job at managing it,” Hastings said. “I want to give credit to St. Thomas. They made a big-time push, they had a lot of opportunities. Rico’s doing a really good job there, and their team is buying in. It was a hard-fought win, and it’s hard to sweep, so we feel fortunate.”

The Tommies, who have now played six of their 10 games thus far against top-10 opponents, are now 2-8-0 overall and 1-3-0 in the CCHA. They visit Bowling Green next weekend for another CCHA series.

“We made some progress again tonight,” Blasi said. “That's ultimately what we’re trying to do here, and we’re getting there. Our young guys are learning good lessons and gaining a lot of experience right now.”

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MINNESOTA STATE 4, ST. THOMAS 3

St. Thomas 2-0-1–3

Minnesota State 3-0-1–4

FIRST PERIOD

SCORING: 1, UST, Braccini (Byers, LeDonne) 4:08; 2, MSU, Silye 1 (Borchardt, Groll) 6:36. 3, MSU, Silye 2 (Wilson, Furry), 11:45, PP; 4, Silye 3 (Wilson, Fitzgerald); 5, UST, Manning (Recchi), 18:21

PENALTIES: UST, Braccini (boarding, 5-minute major), 6:50; UST, Eernisse (contact to the head, 5-minute major), 15:20; MSU, Sandelin (cross-checking, 5-minute major and game misconduct), 17:14; MSU, Sandelin (roughing), 17:14; UST, Gauer (roughing), 17:14; MSU, Silye (interference), 18:20.

SECOND PERIOD

SCORING: None.

PENALTIES: MSU, Wheeler (interference), 18:35; UST, Wahlin (interference), 18:55.

THIRD PERIOD

SCORING: 6, MSU, Sowder (Furry, Livingstone), 0:58, 7, UST, Laylin (Manning), 11:54.

PENALTIES: None

SUMMARIES:

Shots on goal: UST 5-6-7–18; MSU 15-9-6–30. Penalties-minutes: UST 4-14; MSU 5-21. Power plays: UST 0-for-3; MSU 2-for-5. Goalie saves: UST, Roberts 26; MSU, Tracy 3 (18:15); Rancier 10 (39:06).

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