HOUGHTON, Mich. — Last-place Minnesota-Duluth and a return to home ice proved to be just what the doctor ordered for Michigan Tech. Winless in their last seven games, the Huskies returned to MacInnes Arena for the first time in more than a month and beat UMD, 4-1, before 2,035 on Friday night.
Tech improved to 6-15-2 overall and 2-11-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Huskies now have a three-point lead over UMD (8-16-1, 1-13-1) in the league standings.
“It wasn’t a classic game by any stretch of the imagination, but you’ve got to win games like that,” said Michigan Tech head coach Mike Sertich. “Last week [in Denver] we deserved to win one, but we didn’t. Tonight maybe we didn’t deserve to win, but we did.”
The Huskies were outshot, 43-29, but freshman goaltender Cam Ellsworth frustrated the Bulldogs all night. After struggling in a 7-4 loss at Denver last Saturday, Ellsworth turned in a superb effort, stopping 42 shots. Sophomore Brett Engelhardt added to his team-leading point total with a goal and two assists.
“It’s always nice to keep your team in the game and give them a chance to win,” said Ellsworth. “Lately, we’ve all been having a rough stretch. We all came out maybe a little slow tonight, but we picked it up well and got some goals we really needed.”
Tech killed off all seven of UMD’s power-play opportunities, including 51 seconds of five-on-three in the opening period.
Colin Murphy continued his hot streak as he scored his sixth goal of the season and third in two games at 6:04 of the first period. Murphy worked his way out between the circles and beat UMD goaltender Adam Coole with a shot high into the corner of the net.
Later in the first, the Huskies denied the Bulldogs a chance to tie the game by killing the five-on-three thanks to a series of blocked shots by Engelhardt and Bryan Perez.
Tech increased its lead to 2-0 at 4:28 of the second period. After Justin Brown poked the puck loose in the Tech zone, Engelhardt carried it all the way back into the UMD zone, stopped along the boards at the top of the circle and wristed a shot over Coole’s glove high into the far corner of the net.
The Huskies made it 3-0 at 4:28 of the final period when Frank Werner buried a rebound after Coole failed to control Chris Durno’s shot.
Although Mark Carlson ruined Tech’s shutout bid when his shot trickled under Ellsworth’s glove at 8:19, the Bulldogs couldn’t get any closer.
Tech put the win on ice when Brad Sullivan scored into an empty net with 26 seconds left. Despite being in the midst of a 15-game scoring drought, Perez passed up the chance to shoot and unselfishly gave the puck to a streaking Sullivan, who dumped it in for his first collegiate goal.
The two teams will meet for the final time in the regular season Saturday at 7:05.