HOUGHTON - Friday's comeback came up short, but Saturday the Michigan Tech hockey team came back twice from two-goal deficits to earn a hard-fought 4-4 tie with Western Collegiate Hockey Association rival Minnesota Duluth.
It was the Huskies' first tie of the season (4-7-1, 3-6-1 WCHA), the first time they avoided a loss in seven games when their opponent scored first and the first time they avoided a loss in the last seven home games against the Bulldogs (4-7-3, 2-5-3 WCHA).
"There's a good point on a good tie and a not-so-good tie, and I thought this was a good tie, just because we were down by two in the third period with under 10 (minutes) to go," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "I thought they played a lot tougher than (Friday) night. They really bottled us up, took the passing lanes away. They did a good job. They frustrated us. We hung in there and found a way to steal a point."
Michigan Tech junior forward Milos Gordic battles along the boards with Minnesota Duluth numerical counterpart Wade Bergman during Saturday’s 4-4 tie at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
Pearson pulled senior goaltender Kevin Genoe for an extra attacker with 1:21 left in the third period, and senior defenseman Steven Seigo controlled the puck off Alex Petan's faceoff win, then delayed, delayed and scored on a shot through traffic with 50 seconds left in regulation to send the game to the extra session.
"I thought our team did a real nice job of staying with things, even in the third there down 4-2," Seigo said. "We could have easily packed it in with six minutes left, but you have to give our team a lot of credit for working hard and getting it back to even."
Tech had only lost one of its last 23 overtime games, and UMD had only lost five of its last 42 overtime games. The Bulldogs out-shot the Huskies 5-0 in OT, but Genoe, who was awarded a chance at redemption after allowing three quick goals and getting pulled 9:08 into Friday's 7-3 loss, finished strong.
Minnesota Duluth 2 0 2 0 - 4
Michigan Tech 0 1 3 0 - 4
First period 1, UMD, Mike Seidel (Austin Farley, Wade Bergman), 13:46 PP; 2, UMD, Farley (Andy Welinski), 15:31. Penalties UMD, Derik Johnson (interference), 3:10; MTU, Blake Pietila (checking from behind), 12:34; UMD, Max Tardy (slashing), 18:49; MTU, Blake Hietala (slashing), 18:49.
Second period 3, MTU, David Johnstone 3 (Riley Sweeney, Ryan Furne), 6:49. Penalties MTU, Jujhar Khaira (holding the stick), 2:08; MTU, Brad Stebner (roughing double minor), 8:05; UMD, Dan DeLisle (roughing double minor), 8:05; MTU, Khaira (tripping), 8:20; UMD, Team (too many men), 11:19; UMD, Johnson (hooking), 11:53.
Third period 4, MTU, Khaira 3 (Alex Petan, Ryan Furne), 4:43 PP; 5, UMD, Tony Cameranesi (Bergman, Welinski), 6:45 PP; 6, UMD, Caleb Herbert (Welinski, Justin Crandall), 11:10; 7, MTU, Pietila 8 (Petan, Khaira), 13:58; 8, MTU, Steven Seigo 3 (Petan), 19:10 EX. Penalties UMD, Adam Krause (goaltender interference), 4:03; MTU, Pietila (boarding), 5:10.
Overtime No scoring. Penalties MTU, Pietila (roughing), 4:43.
Goalies UMD, Aaron Crandall (26 shots, 22 saves); MTU, Kevin Genoe (37 shots, 33 saves).
"Kevin's played fairly consistent and well leading into this weekend. I thought the weekend off hurt Kevin. He battled (Friday) night. It wasn't all his fault," Pearson said. " Being the senior and knowing how hard he battles and how our team plays in front of him, we went with him tonight, and I thought he did a good job. Kevin stood tall in overtime."
Genoe made 33 saves Saturday night, but, like his teammates, he got off to a bit of a slow start again.
Blake Pietila took his first of four penalties in the game at the 12:34 mark of the first period, and UMD forward Mike Seidel scored his nation-leading sixth power play goal of the season 1:12 later. Austin Farley scored his third goal of the weekend 1:45 after that, and just like that Tech trailed 2-0 for the second straight night.
UMD was awarded its third goal of the night 2:38 into the second period, but replay showed the puck hit the crossbar and right post.
The referees reversed the call after a video review and four minutes after that Tech sophomore forward David Johnstone scored his third goal of the season to trim the deficit to 2-1. The Bulldogs out-shot the Huskies 17-5 in the second stanza, but Genoe came up big.
Then it was Jujhar Khaira's shot at redemption. The freshman forward had served 12 minutes of penalties in the series before deadlocking the game 4:43 into the third period. Petan faked going to the far side behind the net and dished the puck to a wide-open Khaira on the near side, who easily scored after UMD goaltender Aaron Crandall bit on Petan's fake.
"It was frustrating this weekend. I can't really do much to change the ref's decision or anything, so today getting that goal was really nice," Khaira said. "I finally felt like I was contributing other than taking penalties."
Pietila's third penalty nullified the momentum after Khaira's goal, though, and Tony Cameranesi made it 3-2 on the power play just two minutes later.
"We couldn't kill a penalty," Pearson said. "They're rolling on the power play it was impressive and it scared us. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do and we just couldn't defend it."
UMD was 4-of-12 on the man advantage during the series, but it was an even-strength goal that stretched the lead to 4-2 as Caleb Herbert scored with 8:50 left in the third period.
Then it was Pietila's shot at redemption. He notched eight penalty minutes in the game, but his team-leading eighth goal of the season with 6:02 left in the third set the stage for the exciting finish.
"They're a team that doesn't quit," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "They've shown that over the last year. Mel and his staff have instilled that in them and they've done a (heck) of a job. You don't like having leads and giving them up, but at the same time, I'll take three of four points on the road any day, and I liked how we played."
Tech now has a short turnaround before traveling to Marquette Tuesday to face non-conference (until next year) rival Northern Michigan. The Huskies then head to Madison, Wis., this weekend for a key WCHA series against the Wisconsin Badgers.