MTU Hockey blanked by North Dakota

Courtesy of MTU Athletics

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — No. 4-ranked North Dakota scored one goal in the first period, four in the second and one more in the third to beat Michigan Tech 6-0 tonight and earn a best-of-three WCHA Playoff series win two games to one. The hosts came out firing early and got some bounces along the way to advance to the WCHA Final Five. Tech’s season ends with a 13-20-4 record.

“Credit North Dakota. They were more ready to play tonight,” said head coach Mel Pearson. “Three games in three days is tough, especially with a young team. They’ve got an experienced group of seniors that carried them.

“I’m really proud of our guys. We’ve done a lot of good things this year. We’re growing and going in the right direction. It’s hard to look at things like that on a night like tonight, but there are definitely positives to take away.”

UND peppered Pheonix Copley with 18 shots in the opening period, but the Huskies’ netminder surrendered only one goal in the frame. That came on a slapshot from Dillon Simpson at the 12:13 mark.

Corban Knight made it 2-0 on a breakaway as he beat Copley 4:45 into the second period. UND scored again at the 9:24 and 13:54 marks to go up 4-0 before the Huskies drew back-to-back penalties.

Tech had 1:32 of 5-on-3 power play but couldn’t solve Clarke Saunders. Emblematic of the Huskies’ night, UND got a perfect bounce at the perfect time for their fifth goal. As the first penalty was expiring, Steven Seigo‘s shot caromed off a UND player to center ice where Colten St. Clair came out of the penalty box and skated in alone on Copley.

Michigan Tech held a 15-14 advantage in shots in the second period with nothing to show for it. The Huskies continued to skate hard in the third period, putting eight shots on net.

UND closed out scoring with 3:15 left on a Brendan O’Donnell goal.

North Dakota (21-11-7) held a 44-28 advantage in shots on goal. Neither team scored on the power play. Tech was 0-for-3 while UND was 0-for-1.

Tech came one win shy of its second consecutive WCHA Final Five appearance.

The Huskies will say goodbye to seven seniors on the squad: defenseman Tommy Brown, goaltender Kevin Genoe, forward Mikael Lickteig, defenseman Carl Nielsen, forward Aaron Pietila, forward Chad Pietila and defenseman Steven Seigo.

“One thing to look at with a group of seniors is if they left the program in a better place than when you came,” said Pearson. “Without a doubt this group has done that. They did a lot of good things this season and in their careers.”

Michigan Tech has concluded its 92nd season of hockey.