FRASER, Mich. — First the power went out in the Great Lakes Sports City. Then Wayne State lost power and eventually the game as Michigan Tech came back from a 3-1 deficit and defeated the Warriors, 4-3, behind freshman goaltender Cam Ellsworth’s first collegiate win.
Ellsworth was nearly knocked out of the game, literally, in the third period when a Steve Nichols shot drilled Ellsworth flush on the neck. Sporting a softball-sized welt after the game, Ellsworth said no way was he going to come out of the game.
“I turned my neck for some reason,” said Ellsworth. “But, hey, I stopped the puck and we went on to get the late goal and win this one.”
Huskies sophomore captain Brett Englehardt scored late in the third period to put Michigan Tech (4-7-1, 1-6-1 WCHA) up to stay. He came in on the right-wing side and slid a seemingly harmless shot on WSU junior netminder David Guerrera that went five-hole for the eventual game-winner.
Warriors junior co-captain Jason Durbin opened the scoring 3:19 into the game on a Wayne State power play. Tyler Kindle ripped a shot on net that Durbin re-directed past Ellsworth just six seconds into the power play.
Jaron Doetzel tied the game for Tech at 13:05 to send the game to the first intermission tied 1-1. A shot from an almost impossible angle got past Guerrera for his third goal of the campaign with the lone assist going to Vancouver Canucks prospect Paul Cabana.
Wayne State’s Nick Shrader and Brent Renfrew scored 7:36 apart in the second period to stake the Warriors to a 3-1 advantage. On Shrader’s tally, Nick Stodgell took the initial shot from the right faceoff dot that missed the net. But the puck took a Wayne State ricochet off the end boards right to Shrader who banged it past Ellsworth for his third of the season.
Renfrew’s goal, his second on the season, came as the result of hard work. Nichols put a shot on net that was juggled by Ellsworth. Renfrew, crashing the net, batted the puck home.
Then the Huskies took over, starting when John Hartman scored at 16:04 to bring MTU to within 3-2.
At 18:30, the lights went out in the arena and the teams went to their respective locker rooms to play the remaining 90 seconds after the normal intermission.
The final period proved to be all Michigan Tech. Ryan Markham scored his first goal of the year 2:16 into the third.
Englehardt’s goal at 15:38, his second on the year, snatched victory from the hands of defeat for Michigan Tech.
“Tech didn’t quit,” said Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson, who split the series with his son, Peter, an assistant coach with MTU. “They came out with intensity in the third period and we weren’t able to match it. They got a lot of the bounces that maybe we got last night.
“Their goalie played great and gave them a great deal of confidence to win the hockey game.”
Ellsworth was quick to pass the praise to his teammates.
“It was big for our team to come back from being down by two goals,” he said. “We came together and had guys step up at important times and we came out with the two points.”
MTU plays host to Colorado College next weekend while WSU (4-7-1, 2-0-0 CHA) hosts CHA foe Bemidji State.