HOUGHTON, Mich. — While his teammates were desperately trying to generate some offense, Northern Michigan senior goaltender Dan Ragusett was busy having the game of his life.
Ragusett made 55 saves and the Wildcats scored four unanswered goals in the third period as they defeated host Michigan Tech, 4-1, on Friday night.
“I think Danny Ragusett played unbelievable,” Northern Michigan coach Rick Comley said. “We got totally dominated for two periods and we’re in the game only because of our goaltender.”
“Tech came out flying and they shoot the puck from anywhere,” said Ragusett, who said the only game he can remember facing more shots in was a Midget game that went seven overtimes. “I was seeing things pretty well.”
Chris Gobert, Jimmy Jackson, Ryan Riipi, and Mike Stutzel scored for NMU (8-5-5).
Defenseman Tom Kaiman scored for Tech (3-12-1), and Brian Rogers made 17 saves.
“I think we generated a lot of offense, we just didn’t finish it,” Michigan Tech interim coach Mike Sertich said. “We had plenty of opportunity, but we have to find the back of the net.”
After Kaiman scored on a soft shot from the point just 2:05 into the game, Ragusett slammed the door on the Huskies, making 19 saves in the first, 16 in the second, and 20 more in the final period.
Chris Gobert finally got Northern Michigan on the board when he deflected Sean Connolly’s shot past Rogers for a power-play goal at the 3:10 mark of the third period.
“When we got that goal, it was [good] to see our team get into the game a little bit,” Ragusett said. “I knew once we got that one it was going to be a snowball effect.”
Shortly after Gobert’s goal, Ragusett made perhaps his best saves of the game, stopping Justin Brown’s shot with his facemask and then jamming his left pad in front of Brad Patterson’s point-blank shot.
The Wildcats took the lead at 7:26 when Jackson scored on a beautiful feed from Chad Theuer that Rogers had little chance of stopping.
Ryan Riipi then scored shorthanded at 14:19 and Mike Stutzel finished the scoring at 16:57.
“That’s as poorly as we’ve played all year,” Comley said. “We’re a beat up team. It’s a real gutty, comeback win.”
“We’ve improved every day,” Sertich said. “We’re not there yet. We played well on the power play, but we didn’t score on the power play. We played well on the penalty kill, but we gave up a goal on the penalty kill. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have to understand that.”
NMU was 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Huskies were 0-for-7.
Tech, which is 0-9-1 at home, hasn’t won at MacInnes Arena since it beat Minnesota-Duluth on Jan. 15.
The two teams meet again Saturday night at 7:35 ET at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.