HOUGHTON, Mich. – The No. 1 ranked team in the nation held a 1-0 lead for the second night in a row on No. 9 Minnesota State, but for the second night in a row the Mavericks came back and defeated Michigan Tech. Saturday’s (Nov. 22) final score was 3-2 as the Huskies fall to 10-2-0 overall and 8-2-0 in the WCHA.
“Minnesota State’s a real good hockey team,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “They played hard, and I give them a lot of credit.
“Having said that, I like our team. I thought we battled hard. These are some of the games we’ve been winning this year by getting those breaks late in the game. They went against us tonight.”
Alex Petan gave Tech the lead 5:29 into the second period, scoring for the fifth game in a row and sixth in the last seven games. Malcolm Gould picked up a loose puck behind the net and fed it out front to a streaking Petan who sniped it into the top shelf.
The Mavericks evened up the score less than two minutes later (7:22). With a scramble in front of Jamie Phillips, Jordan Nelson pushed the puck across the goal line moments before the net was dislodged. The play was reviewed and stood as called.
Early (1:35) in the third period with MSU on the man advantage, Matt Leitner took a shot from the top of the circle to the left of Phillips that was tipped off a Husky defender into the back of the net. Jean-Paul Lafontaine and Casey Nelson assisted on the play that made it 2-1.
Lafontaine scored on a wraparound 7:32 into the third for a 3-1 lead. Sean Flanagan and Leitner picked up the assists.
The Huskies had plenty of chances in the third period. Alex Gillies found himself alone in front of the net but couldn’t corral the puck. Reid Sturos and Blake Pietila went in on a 2-on-1 break, but Williams was there for the save. Williams had 13 of his 25 saves in the third period.
Gould finally broke through and got the Huskies back into it with a power play tally from Tanner Kero and Matt Roy with less than four minutes remaining (16:48). The rebound from Kero’s initial shot landed right on Gould’s stick who was wide open at the doorstep.
The Huskies weren’t able to generate a ton of chances in the late stages of the game, as they had to kill off one of MSU’s six power plays with just over two and a half minutes to go.
Both teams took eight minor penalties, and both were 1-for-6 on the power play.
Shots were 27-20 in favor of Tech. Phillips made 20 saves with a half a dozen coming in each of the first two periods and eight in the third.
The two teams meet again in Mankato at the end of February.
Next weekend, the Huskies make their first-ever trip to Alabama Huntsville for a WCHA series. The puck drops at 8:07 p.m. on Black Friday and Saturday (Nov. 28-29).
“We’re going to have to learn from this weekend,” said Pearson. “Every night is going to be tough in this league. Huntsville is playing well. They’re feisty. These upcoming games are the last two league games before Christmas break, and we’ll be ready to go.”
(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)