HOUGHTON, Mich. - A one-goal game heading into the third period to decide Winter Carnival ended in a 4-0 shutout victory for visiting Nebraska Omaha over Michigan Tech tonight at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
The Huskies (13-14-3, 10-9-3 WCHA) had opportunities to tie the game in the third period, but the Mavericks tallied three goals in the final 15 minutes to earn the MacInnes Cup as Winter Carnival Champion. UNO (13-11-6, 10-7-5 WCHA) also gained an important two points in the WCHA standings to move into sixth place all alone.
UNO's Ryan Massa became the first goaltender to shut out Michigan Tech this season. The freshman made 35 saves including several keys stops early in the third period as the Huskies were trying to tie the game.
After a scoreless first period, the Mavericks' Matt White gave his squad a 1-0 lead on a wrist shot just inside the far post from the left circle.
The score remained 1-0 heading into the third period, where Tech's Jacob Johnstone had a point-blank opportunity just seconds into the frame. Massa stood tall, and the visitors were able to expand the margin to 2-0 on White's rush from the center red line at the 5:38 mark.
Tech continued to pressure offensively, but couldn't solve the UNO defense. The Huskies fired 18 shots on net in the third period, but it was the Mavericks finding the twine. They scored even strength at the 7:15 mark, then tallied a short-handed goal at 13:10 to keep the crowd of 3,488 out of the game.
"We were right there, just didn't convert a couple opportunities," said head coach Mel Pearson. "I thought Massa was the story of the hockey game. He made some big saves.
"Overall, it was a close series. They have a couple difference makers including White. His second goal really took the wind out of our sails."
White was named Winter Carnival Most Valuable Player.
Josh Robinson made 27 saves for Tech including a couple of the spectacular variety to keep it a one-goal game early in the third period.
For the second straight night, neither team scored on the power play (Tech 0-4, UNO 0-3). UNO's short-handed tally was the only special teams goal of the weekend.
Michigan Tech will travel to North Dakota next weekend for another crucial two-game series in WCHA play. Games are Friday and Saturday (Feb. 17-18) in Grand Forks, N.D.