HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech erased a 4-2 lead with a pair of goals less than a minute apart late in the third period, but Minnesota State’s Rob Rankin provided the game-winning marker with 1:44 left in regulation to give the Mavericks a 5-4 triumph Friday night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Taggart Desmet and Lars Helminen each poured in two-point efforts, while Rob Nolan stopped 34-of-39 shots between the pipes for the Huskies.
Tech lit up the scoreboard just :10 into the contest, as Desmet took a pass from Helminen and beat MSU netminder Dan Tormey on a breakaway. Desmet’s tally was his fifth of the year. Helminen notched the 10th assist of his sophomore campaign.
The Mavericks responded with three consecutive goals, all in the opening frame. Steve Wagner added a power-play marker at 2:53 to even the score at 1-1. Christian Toll then put the visitors ahead with a shorthanded goal at the 5:07 mark and David Backes netted the third goal, one of two for him on the night, with a man advantage at 18:59.
Helminen cut the score to 3-2 at the 2:12 mark of the second stanza with his first lamplighter of the season and 11th point overall. Teammate Nick Anderson made a sharp pass from the neutral zone that Helminen corralled in the high slot, and then he beat Tormey top-shelf on the glove side. Anderson’s assist was his third.
Backes struck again for the Mavericks at 18:04, this time with an even-strength goal.
The final period proved to be an opportunistic one for the home team, as MTU found the back of the net twice in seven shot attempts. Ryan Angelow used a pinpoint blast from the left circle to beat Tormey on the glove side at the 11:19 mark. Angelow’s goal was his second of the year and was assisted by Tyler Shelast.
Chris Conner compiled the Huskies’ second breakaway goal of the contest, and his team-leading 11th marker of the year at 12:11. Desmet spotted Conner just inside the MSU blue line with a long lead pass that allowed Conner to skate in all alone and sneak the puck past Tormey five-hole.
Michigan Tech nearly regained the lead with just under 5:00 to play when Conner tried to convert another breakaway chance for the Huskies, but was denied by Tormey right in front of the net.
Rankin’s tally at 19:16 came off a screened shot taken from just inside the left side of the Tech blue line.
Tormey turned away 20 of the 24 shots he faced in earning the fourth win of his freshman campaign.
MSU topped MTU 39-24 in shots for the game.
Tech was 0-for-4 on the power play, compared to a 2-for-4 clip by the Mavericks.
Michigan Tech is now 3-15-1 overall and 2-10-1 in WCHA competition. Minnesota State holds a 5-10-3 overall record and a 3-7-3 mark in league games. The two teams will play the series finale Saturday night at the MacInnes Arena. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m.