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Tech poor vs. Fighting Sioux

March 8, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

Yes, North Dakota is loaded with NHL draft picks.

And yes, the Fighting Sioux are definitely deserving of their No. 1 ranking. But that said, Michigan Tech's performance in its series with the UND this past weekend was unacceptable.

Sure the Huskies were tied with the Fighting Sioux late in the second period of the series opener, but we've heard that story before. Tech's final four periods against UND were abysmal.

The Huskies were outscored 13-3 over that 80-minute stretch. Tech also gave up at least two goals in each of those four periods.

A goal by Matt Frattin started a five-goal outburst that pushed the Fighting Sioux to a 6-1 win in the opener. The game was tied 1-1 with just over six minutes left when Frattin scored.

"We've talked a lot this year about controlling momentum and that's an area we haven't been very good at," Tech coach Jamie Russell said. "Whether you're playing at home or you're playing on the road, you've got to have composure and you've got to make simple plays.

"You have to make good decisions with the puck and in a sense slow the game down when the other team has momentum, and we haven't been very strong at that."

UND also matched their goal total for Friday's opener in the first period of the series finale. Five of the Fighting Sioux's six power-play goals on the weekend came in game two.

"We were a pretty fragile team mentally going in against the No. 1 team in the country," Russell said. "They score on their first shot on their first shift and they follow it up with another one (goal) and that's where our youth really stands out.

"We were able to answer back very quickly and get it to 2-1. Then we got into penalty trouble with a five-minute major, being two men short. They capitalized on two power-play opportunities and now we've dug ourselves a huge hole."

The lone bright spot all weekend was Carl Nielsen's goal on Saturday night. It was his first of the season and second of his career.

Other than that, there really wasn't much to write home about. And with a trip to Grand Forks coming up this weekend for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, Tech will have to play much better or the envelope won't need any extra postage next week either.

K.D. Warvie can be reached at kwarvie@mininggazette. com.



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