HOUGHTON, Mich. - No. 20 Michigan Tech pulled within one on a late goal but couldn't get the equalizer in a 5-3 WCHA loss to No. 4-ranked Minnesota Duluth tonight at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Huskies (8-6-1, 5-5-1 WCHA) were the victims of a couple bad bounces in suffering just their second home loss of the year (6-2-1 at home).
UMD (10-3-2, 8-2-1 WCHA) scored a goal off a shoulder, another off a skate and an empty netter that trickled over the goal line.
"It's hockey. You're going to have some bad bounces," said Mel Pearson. "We have to learn how to overcome those things.
"I though we responded pretty well each time. That was good to see out of this team."
After a scoreless first period, UMD tallied the first goal of the game at the 2:21 mark of the second as a puck ricocheted off a Bulldog player's shoulder in front of Josh Robinson and bounced into the net. Dan DeLisle was awarded the goal, which stood after a video review.
Minutes later, Tech's David Johnstone was robbed by UMD goalie Kenny Reiter, who gloved down a hard shot from the slot to keep the score 1-0.
The Huskies continued to buzz, however. Milos Gordic tied the game at the 6:45 mark as his pass to Jordan Baker at the net came right back to him. The goal sent the crowd into a frenzy, and the noise level continued as the hosts maintained possession inside the Bulldog zone.
Less than 90 seconds after Gordic's goal, Alex MacLeod threw a puck on net from the left point that Reiter never saw. Tanner Kero and Steven Seigo drew the assists on the goal, which put the Huskies on top 2-1. UMD coach Scott Sandelin called a timeout to try to halt the momentum.
Later in the frame, the Huskies found themselves on a five-on-three power play but couldn't score to extend their lead. Shortly after the man advantage ended, the Bulldogs knotted the game on a redirect in front of Robinson.
Tech finished with an 11-8 shot advantage in the period, but the score was 2-all following 40 minutes.
The visitors regained the lead on a kick in by Jack Connolly at the 7:57 mark of the third. J.T. Brown fed a pass through the crease to Connolly, who directed the puck with his skate off of Robinson's back and into the net. The goal was originally waved off, but counted after a video review.
Tech had another power play chance midway through the third, but resulted in a UMD goal. Baker's shot from the left circle bounced off a defender out to Connolly, who fed it up to Keegan Flaherty for a breakaway. Flaherty buried a wrist shot for the first shorthanded goal the Huskies have allowed all season and a 4-2 margin with 7:23 to play.
Tech sent out an extra skater at the start of a power play with 1:29 on the clock and a faceoff in the UMD end. Just 16 seconds later, David Johnstone rifled a shot from atop the left circle to give the Huskies life. Steven Seigo and Brett Olson were credited with assists on the 6-on-4 power play goal.
Robinson skated to the Tech bench again for the extra attacker with less than a minute to play, but Connolly added the empty net goal at the 19:30 mark on an intended pass that had just enough momentum to carry across the goal line.
Final shot totals revealed a 35-30 advantage for UMD. Robinson made 30 saves while Reiter stopped 27.
The Huskies were 1-for-6 on the power play compared to a 1-for-5 mark for the Bulldogs.
"We had a good second period, and we need to do more of that tomorrow," said Pearson. "We'll also made some tweaks to both our special teams units."
The two teams will wrap up their weekend series tomorrow in a game scheduled for 7:07 p.m.