In bizarre finish, MSU-Mankato beats Bemidji State to win CCHA title

The Minnesota State University-Mankato men's hockey team beat Bemidji State in overtime Saturday night to win the CCHA title after having a goal waved off following a 55-minute review. ((credit: MSU-Mankato Athletics))

It was one of the most bizarre situations you’ll ever see in college hockey, but Minnesota State University-Mankato is headed to the NCAA Tournament after beating Bemidji State in overtime Saturday night.

Josh Groll appeared to score the game-winning goal a little more than three minutes into overtime to give the Mavericks the Mason Cup and the CCHA title. The goal was reviewed, and deemed a good goal. It was reviewed again, and nearly an hour later, the call was overturned.

The Mavericks had already been given the Mason Cup and were in full celebration mode when they learned the game in fact was not over. Replays show Groll skating in and beating the Bemidji State goalie for what looks like the game-winner. The right goal post briefly shifts, and Groll's shot goes under and around the outside post and into the net.

The CCHA issued a statement about the play Saturday night, and former Gophers coach and current league commissioner Don Lucia spoke with reporters after the game.

After about an hour, the teams regrouped and had five minutes to warm back up on the ice. The few fans that remained filed back into the arena. The game resumed with 16:58 left in overtime, and Jack McNeely eventually scored the game-winning goal for the Mavericks. The two goals ended up being about 79 minutes apart.

"It's not what we wanted. It's not what anybody wanted. For me, I wanted to make the right call. There’s so much at stake. I don't want to end someone’s career on a goal that isn’t a goal," Lucia said.

"The biggest thing we talk about … is we want to get it right at the end. That’s what really matters," MSU-Mankato coach Mike Hastings said. "Happy for the guys. What happened at the end the second time was right. That’s what we should be after."

MSU-Mankato will learn its seed for the NCAA Tournament Sunday night. Bemidji State needed to win the game to get into the tournament.