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Minnesota rules second periods/Huskies Insider

March 1, 2011
By K.D. Warvie -

Michigan Tech came away with points when it traveled to Denver two weeks ago.

A win in the series opener against the Pioneers gave the Huskies a split and earned them two points.

Tech was hoping for the same, if not a better, result when it hit the road to play Minnesota this past weekend. But the Gophers won both games of the series and the Huskies came home pointless.

The second period did Tech in on both nights. The Huskies and Gophers played a scoreless first period in the opener on Friday.

But Minnesota outscored the Huskies 3-1 in the second and went on to a 5-2 victory. The Huskies had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by Daniel Holmberg before the Gophers responded with the three goals to put Tech down by two (3-1) heading to the third.

"I thought Friday we were following a pretty good recipe for success," Tech coach Jamie Russell said. "We had a pretty solid first period. We got out of there 0-0.

"We had a good start to the second. I thought we had some good scoring chances. We got a good opportunity off a line rush where Holmberg created a turnover, went in 2-on-1, had a really nice shot and beat the goalie high over the glove. We talked a lot with our team about momentum and controlling momentum in both directions, especially when you're playing on the road.

"The shift following a goal in either direction is huge. You score a goal, you want to make sure you've got that team on their heels and you go right after them. We did just the opposite. We allowed Minnesota to come back and they answered 23 seconds after we scored. Now you've got the crowd back in the hockey game and they flip-flopped momentum back on us."

The Huskies and Gophers were tied again after the opening 20 minutes in the series finale. Milos Gordic's goal just past the midway point of the first leveled the score at 1 heading to the second.

But just as they had done the night before, Minnesota scored three times in the second to take control of the game. The Huskies closed the gap to two (4-2) a second time midway through the third, but Gopher goaltender Kent Patterson closed the door from there to lock up the sweep.

"I thought we did some very good things again Saturday," Russell said. "We were 1-1 at the end of the first period.

"Really it was kind of a chippy weekend, which you don't really expect when you play Minnesota, but I thought our fourth line is a line that doesn't get a ton of ice time for us, but they've got to be able to take some valuable minutes.

"We're looking for two or three shifts a period max from our fourth line to give our top three a rest so we have some freshness when we're on the penalty kill and the power play, and I didn't think our fourth line did a very good job of that this weekend."

Freshmen still fabulous

Tech's freshman class came up big once again against the Gophers. Four different players accounted for nine points in the two games.

Gordic had a goal on both nights to raise his team-leading total to 15. Gordic has a total of 21 points despite having missed several games due to injury.

Two other forwards also had multi-point weekends against Minnesota. Center Jacob Johnstone had one assist in the opener and chipped in two more helpers in the curtain closer.

Winger Ryan Furne had a goal and an assist in game two. Furne (11 goals, nine assists) is now tied for second on the team in scoring with senior defenseman Deron Cousens.



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