Despite outshooting Ferris State 41-19, Michigan Tech loses Winter Carnival opener 3-2
HOUGHTON — Winter Carnival is usually the one weekend out of the college hockey season where the Michigan Tech Huskies tap into the ghosts that haunt the MacInnes Student Ice Arena and emerge victorious, even during seasons when nothing else seems to be going right.
Apparently nobody told Ferris State Bulldogs goaltender Justin Kapelmaster on Friday.
The Bulldogs’ freshman tapped into a little of that Winter Carnival magic to make 39 saves and steal a 3-2 victory for the visitors.
It was not for lack of chances for the Huskies, who have now lost three games in a row for the first time since the start of the season.
“I thought we played well,” said Huskies coach Mel Pearson. “You can’t fault the efforts of our players. I thought we did the things we needed to do, for the most part.”
The Bulldogs never trailed in the game despite how well the Huskies played. For the second straight night, the Huskies surrendered a goal less than three minutes into the game when Corey Mackin took a pass across the crease from captain Jared VanWormer to beat Angus Redmond.
The Huskies dominated much of the rest of the period. Winger Joel L’Esperance had two good looks from the slot in a matter of 10 seconds, but Kapelmaster stopped both.
Six minutes later, L’Esperance got in on a 2-on-0 but his wrister was stopped as well.
A minutes after that, winger Jake Jackson came off the bench and took a lead pass from assistant captain Shane Hanna. Jackson blew around a Bulldogs’ defender, but was stopped as he crashed the net.
“You can see we outshot them, out-chanced them, [we] just didn’t bear down on our chances,” said Huskies captain Cliff Watson. “Honestly, I think it just comes down to us bearing down a little bit..”
The Bulldogs (10-16-4 overall, 9-11-3-2 WCHA) took advantage of their third good scoring chance of the game to extend their lead to 2-0. VanWormer found a soft spot in the Huskies’ defense and tipped a pass from Gerald Mayhew past Redmond at 17:51.
“I guess it was the definition of being quite opportunistic,” said Bulldogs assistant coach Mark Kaufman. “We were fortunate enough to take advantage.”
The Huskies finally got some puck luck of their own just 1:03 into the second period. Six seconds into a power play, winger Gavin Gould pounced on the puck after a lost faceoff to the left of Kapelmaster. Gould carried the puck out front and fed it across the crease to center Alex Smith, who deposited a quick shot in the back of the net.
The Huskies (16-12-7 overall, 13-6-3-2 WCHA) kept the pressure on after the goal.
Eleven minutes later, defenseman Chris Leibinger skated the puck into the slot and fired a shot that rebounded out front to center Jake Lucchini. Lucchini fired off a quick shot, but Kapelmaster made the stop.
Just 30 seconds later, assistant captain Michael Neville stole a clearing pass in the slot, but was stopped when he fired a wrist shot.
Pearson was pleased with the quality of the scoring chances the Huskies had.
“We are doing everything we can offensively to create offense,” said Pearson. “We have to stay with it. We just have to continue on, keep playing with the effort we did.”
The Bulldogs regained the lead late in the second period after killing off a 5-on-3 power play for the Huskies. Jacob Hetz fired a long shot from the left point that rebounded off of Redmond and right to Tyler Andrew, who beat Redmond with the rebound at 18:09.
The Huskies pressured throughout the third period, but could only manage one goal when defenseman Mark Auk took a drop pass from winger Chris Gerrie and beat Kapelmaster with a wrist shot at 11:28.
The Huskies pulled Redmond late, but despite assistant captain Reid Sturos getting two good looks from right in front of Kapelmaster, they could not find a third goal before the final buzzer.
The teams go back at it tonight at 5:07 p.m.
Ferris State 2 1 0 – 3
Michigan Tech 0 1 1 – 2
1, FSU, Corey Mackin (Jared VanWormer, Cameron Clarke), 2:19
2, FSU, VanWormer (Gerald Mayhew, Joe Rutkowski), PP, 17:51
3, MTU, Alex Smith (Gavin Gould, Joel L’Esperance), PP, 1:03
4, FSU, Tyler Andrew (Jacob Hetz, Clarke), 18:09
5, MTU, Mark Auk (Chris Gerrie), 11:28
FSU, Kapelmaster 14 10 15 – 39
MTU, Redmond 4 6 6 – 16
FSU: 6/12; MTU: 5/10
FSU: 1/4; MTU: 1/5