Michigan Tech snaps losing streak, ties with BGSU
HOUGHTON — There are two ways to score a goal, according to Michigan Tech head coach Joe Shawhan.
The first is purely on skill. When a player is outright better than his opponent and is able to rely on talent to get the job done.
The second way requires a little something extra. Something that Mitch Reinke and Gavin Gould tapped into in the closing minutes of regulation as Tech took on Bowling Green State, Saturday in the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
The Huskies found themselves trailing 2-1 with five minutes to play, desperate to snap a four-game losing streak and build confidence going forward. They had plenty of quality looks in the third but came up empty until Reinke took a shot from just inside the blue line at 14:56. The puck ricocheted off Gould’s stick and gave Tech its first even-strength goal of the weekend.
It wasn’t the prettiest shot, or the most skilled, but it did its job and gave Tech a much-needed 2-2 tie against Bowling Green.
“We are trying to get the guys to learn and enjoy that little small victory of grinding it out and getting a scoring chance out of it because those build over time,” Shawhan said.
The game went to a shootout, but Tech (4-5-2, 2-4-2 WCHA) and Bowling Green (4-3-2, 3-1-2 WCHA) ended the first overtime with locked at 2. Per WCHA rules, that means the game goes down as a tie. But the Falcons picked up an extra WCHA point as Stephen Baylis was the only player to score in the shootout.
“It’s always good to show bounce back, to show that our team has resilience, has heart and is able to come back,” Gould said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted at the end.”
That’s been typical for Tech this season: Getting close, but not quite there, especially when it comes to special teams.
Early on in the game, Tech appeared to be making improvements defending the power play, killing the first two Bowling Green chances. But at 19:03, junior goalie Devin Kero came out to make a save and was whistled for grabbing the puck too far from the net. Then, with 17 seconds left in the period, Baylis lined up a shot that bounced off the leg of Cameron Wright and passed Kero.
Bowling Green got another quality opportunity to start the second period, as Tech was cited with two penalties, giving the Falcons a 5-on-3 advantage. They kept the puck in front of the net for most of the play, but Kero and the Huskies defense stayed solid.
The defensive effort didn’t last, and a few minutes later, Mitch McLain gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead after Gould was cited for a five-minute elbowing penalty.
It was the fourth power-play goal given up by Tech on the weekend.
“What I’m finding is in that part of our game we are making gains and then we step back,” Shawhan said. “We need to make consistent gains and more rapid growth.”
Tech also continued to struggle to score on their own power-play chances, going 1-of-5 for the game and 2-of-11 for the series.
“Our special teams need a tremendous amount of work,” Shawhan said. “We are really struggling getting into the zone on the power play, when we get into the zone we have some good opportunities, but we have to get there.”
Tech’s lone power-play goal of the game came from Keegan Ford in the first period. Ford lined up a long-distance shot moments after the start of play. He didn’t connect, but it proved to be a good omen for the sophomore defender.
At 13:43 when Tech was in the midst of a power play, Ford got the same look. This time, he hit his target, scoring his first goal as a Husky and giving Tech a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies had 29 shots on the game and Kero, who made his second start of the season, recorded 24 saves.
Next up, Tech looks to get a victory over rival, Northern Michigan when the two square off Friday at 7:07 p.m. in the MacInnes Student Ice Arena before playing at 7:07 p.m. at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.
Bowling Green 1 1 0 0 0 – 2
Michigan Tech 1 0 1 0 0 – 1
Tech- Keegan Ford (Dane Birks), 13:43, 1-0.
BGSU -Cameron Wright (Stephen Baylis, Frede Letourneau), 19:43, 1-1.
BGSU – Mitch McLain (Alec Rauhauser, Wright), 12:13, 2-1.
Tech – Gavin Gould (Mitch Reinke, Mark Auk), 14:56, 2-1).
BGSU – Brandon Kruse- failed.
Tech – Jake Lucchini- failed.
BGSU – Rauhauser- failed.
Tech – Reinke- failed.
BGSU – Wright- failed.
Tech – Jake Jackson- failed.
BGSU – McLain- failed.
Tech – Beretta- failed.
BGSU – Max Johnson- failed.
Tech – Mark Auk- failed.
BGSU – Baylis- scored.
Tech – Justin Misiak- failed.
BGSU, Ryan Bednard 7 5 13 2 3 – 30
Tech, Devin Kero 8 7 7 2 2 – 26
BGSU: 6/12; Tech: 6/15
BGSU: 2/7; Tech 1/5.