HOUGHTON, Mich. — While things didn’t get much clearer in the WCHA playoff picture tonight, one thing was clear when Friday night’s Michigan Tech-Minnesota State Mankato game ended. The Huskies, with their 4-3 victory, had moved past the Mavericks and into ninth-place in the league standings.
“It was a good win,” said Tech head coach Jamie Russell. “We need to finish off the weekend now tomorrow night.”
The Huskies scored a pair of power-play goals in the first period to take a 2-0 lead after one. Freshman Rolf Ulvin got Tech on the board at 11:57 as he banged home a puck that appeared Maverick netminder Jon Volp had covered in the crease. Clay Wilson and Brandon Schwartz both drew assists on the play. With a two-man advantgage, MTU struck for its second goal of the game at 15:42. It was freshman Taggart Desmet who got his 12th of the season as he fired the puck past Volp from between the bottom of the left faceoff circle and the goalline.
Senior Brett Engelhardt made it 3-0 just 2:15 into the seocnd period when he redirected Justin Brown’s shot from the left point. Chris Conner also had an assist on the goal.
The Mavericks got on the board with the first of their three power-play goals on the night courtesy of Kurtis Kiskio. Tech reestablished its three-goal lead less than a minute later. Desmet rang a shot off the crossbar and it bounced to the left faceoff circle where Engelhardt blasted it into the back of the net. Pesky Mankato didn’t go away. Steven Johns got the visitors to within 4-2 at 18:01. The prettiest play of the night came with just :30 left in the period as Chris Conner started in front of his own net and raced through defenders up the ice onl to have Volp stop his backhander right in front. Conner, who had a shorthanded chance earlier in the period, had seven shots on goal on the night.
Brock Becker of the Mavericks scored MSUM’s third power play marker at 12:11 to make things really interesting. Tech netminder Cam Ellsworth, who made a huge save on a point blank chance by Kisko with 3:45 left, stood tall the rest of the way to preserve the win.
Ellsworth made 19 saves in the win, while Volpe had 29 stops in the loss.