HOUGHTON, Mich. — Call it dj vu. Call it bizarre. But in the end, it was just another painful loss for the Michigan Tech Huskies.
Ritchie Larson scored with 1:33 left in regulation, capping a wild finish and giving St. Cloud State a 4-3 victory and weekend sweep Saturday night at MacInnes Arena.
Just 19 seconds earlier, Bob Rangus had scored to complete Michigan Tech’s rally from a 3-0 deficit.
“It’s the craziest game I’ve ever seen,” said St. Cloud State coach Craig Dahl, who was disappointed with his team’s effort but relieved to escape with a four-point weekend. “If you want to stay in any kind of race, you’ve got to find a way to do it.”
Tech (3-11-1, 3-11-0 WCHA) had rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game on Friday night, only to watch the visitors win in overtime.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to get out of this,” said Michigan Tech interim coach Mike Sertich.
Joe Motzko, Derek Eastman (shorthanded), and Mark Hartigan scored first-period goals to give SCSU (10-3-1, 5-3-0 WCHA) a 3-0 lead. St. Cloud State outshot the host Huskies 13-5 in the opening 20 minutes.
But when the second period began, Michigan Tech picked up its intensity and started showing some signs of life. And it paid dividends.
With SCSU’s Tyler Arnason off for hooking, Tech defenseman Clint Way took a shot from the point that went through traffic and eluded St. Cloud netminder Scott Meyer at the 5:56 mark.
Tech then made it a 3-2 game at 18:46 when Chris Durno emerged from a wild scramble in front of the net and slid the puck past a sprawled out Meyer.
Tech continued its strong play in the third period, outshooting SCSU 20-10 and pressing for the tying goal.
Meyer, who stopped 34 shots, made a series of brilliant saves with just over four minutes left in the game. But finally, with 1:52 left, Rangus skated in on the left side and ripped one past Meyer, sending the home crowd into a frenzy and setting up the crazy finish.
“I’m not happy with the way we started, and that’s mental,” said Sertich. “We addressed it [Friday night's OT loss] this morning and we should have been able to move on from it.”
“They [Tech] gave us a couple scares this weekend,” said SCSU defenseman and Houghton native Jeff Finger. “Honestly, I think we’re lucky to sneak out of here with four points.”
Jason Moilanen, in his first start of the season, made 25 saves for Michigan Tech, which was 1-for-6 on the power play. SCSU was 0-for-2.