HOUGHTON, Mich. - Michigan Tech skated deep into the third period tied with No. 1-ranked Minnesota before the Gophers scored the game winner for a 3-2 victory. Seth Ambroz scored on a shot from the slot with 3:35 remaining, and the teams split the WCHA-opening weekend series.
Minnesota (3-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) held a 34-18 advantage in shots in the game, but Tech (2-2-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) found a way to stay in the game.
Ambroz scored his first of the game on a rebound 17:45 into the game, and Minnesota led at the first intermission before the Huskies tied it up.
Chad Pietila took a pass up the center of the ice from Carl Nielsen then dodged a defender while keeping possession of the puck. He scored into the top left corner for his second goal of the weekend.
The tie score lasted for five minutes before the Gophers made a blue line-to-blue line pass to Erik Haula who scored on a wrister from atop the right circle.
Tech got a fortunate bounce to re-tie the game late in the second. Alex Petan's shot from the half wall was tipped by Ryan Furne into UM goalie Adam Wilcox. The puck caromed into the air and was deflected into the goal by Gopher forward Nick Bjugstad.
The teams skated through 16 minutes of the third without a goal despite several good chances for both squads.
Ambroz broke the deadlock at the 16:25 mark with his second goal of the game.
Just one minute later, Wilcox made a nice save on a wide open chance by Chad Pietila right in front of the net.
Tech pulled its goaltender Pheonix Copley for the extra attacker with 1:10 to play but could not get the equalizer.
"It was a physical game again tonight, and I thought it was a gutsy effort by our guys," said head coach Mel Pearson. "We played right with the No. 1 team, and sometimes it doesn't go your way.
"They scored on more of their opportunities than we did, and that was the difference."
Copley made 31 saves for the hosts while Wilcox tallied 16. Neither team scored a power-play goal on seven combined chances (five for Minnesota).
Michigan Tech will be back in action with another tough WCHA series next weekend in Denver. The Huskies and Pioneers will play at 9:37 p.m. ET Friday (Oct. 26) and 9:07 p.m ET on Saturday (Oct. 27).
Special Note: With a 600-329-83 career record in more than 25 years as a head coach, Minnesota's Don Lucia is now just the 10th head coach in NCAA history to reach the 600-win milestone. Now in his 14th season behind the Gophers' bench, Lucia has a 321-174-54 record as Minnesota's head coach.