Tech erases 4 goal deficit; ties U.M.D.

(Courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletics)

DULUTH, Minn. – Michigan Tech scored four unanswered goals including three in the third period to earn a 4-4 overtime tie at No. 1-ranked Minnesota Duluth tonight. The Bulldogs (18-4-3, 12-3-2 WCHA) scored four goals in the first period before the Huskies (11-12-2, 8-7-2 WCHA) battled back in their first appearance at UMD’s new AMSOIL Arena.

“What a resilient effort tonight from the players,” said head coach Mel Pearson, whose club is 2-2-2 against top-three-ranked teams this season. “It says a lot about the character of the guys in our locker room to come back from a four-goal deficit on the road playing the top team in the nation.”

UMD erupted with four goals in a 10-minute span during the opening period. The first came at the 5:50 mark, two more came in the 11th minute of play and the fourth at 15:13.

Tech netminder Josh Robinson, who made saves on 14-of-18 shots in the opening 20 minutes, remained in the game and kept the Huskies in it. The senior stopped all 23 shots he faced after the first intermission to run his record to 10-9-2 on the year.

The Huskies started chipping away at the four-goal deficit when Tanner Kero fed a nice cross-ice pass to Ryan Furne who buried his shot from the right circle. The score was 4-1 after 40 minutes.

Jordan Baker made it a 4-2 score 41 seconds into the third period as Brett Olson fed a pass out from behind the net. Blake Pietila also earned an assist on the play.

Dennis Rix was whistled for a five-minute major for checking from behind and given a game misconduct at the 4:29 mark of the third period. Tech not only killed off the penalty, it drew within a goal as Jacob Johnstone tallied a shorthanded marker. On the play, a shot from Riley Sweeney was blocked in front right onto the stick of Johnstone who buried his shot at the 8:54 mark.

Tech completed the comeback on a tic-tac-toe passing play on the man advantage with just 5:48 to play. Olson walked into the slot and fed a pass to Baker at the side of the net. Baker found David Johnstone all alone on the back door for the equalizer.

Both teams had chances to get the game-winner in the remaining five minutes of regulation. Tech finished with a 19-8 advantage in shots on goal in the third period. Neither squad had a grade A scoring chance in the overtime.

Robinson finished with 33 saves. UMD’s Kenny Reiter posted 35 saves.

“Josh battled through and made some great saves for us,” said Pearson. “This is a big point for us in the league standings. This is the type of game that can define a team.”

Michigan Tech and Minnesota Duluth will wrap up their season series tomorrow with a 7:07 p.m. faceoff.

Notes: Tech remained undefeated in overtime games at 3-0-2 on the season … David Johnstone has three power play goals in the last two games … The Huskies are 2-1-1 in the month of January … Tech snapped UMD senior and Hobey Baker Candidate Jack Connolly’s 22-game scoring streak.

Posted by Jerry Taylor