DULUTH, Minn. — Michigan Tech’s Chris Conner recorded his 13th goal of the season on Friday the 13th, and that was just part of Minnesota Duluth’s woes.
UMD remained sixth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association as last-place Michigan Tech won, 4-2, before 4,112 at the DECC.
UMD (8-11-4, 5-7-3 WCHA) went 0-for-4 on the power play and is 0-for-28 in that department over the past six games. The Bulldogs are also 0-11-0 in games in which they trail after two periods (they were down, 2-1, Friday), and they’re 3-7-1 at home this season.
It wasn’t what the Bulldogs wanted in starting the second half of the WCHA men’s schedule.
“Michigan Tech had a lot of jump and we didn’t match it. We had no life at all,” said UMD freshman winger Nick Kemp, who had a second-period goal. “We’ve had this talk over and over — we have to be excited to play every day. The way we played (Friday) was unacceptable.”
The Huskies (5-17-1, 4-10-1) took a 2-0 lead in the first period, outshot UMD, 36-28, and are 3-2-0 in their last five league games.
Michigan Tech was coming off narrow losses to Michigan State and Michigan at the Great Lakes Invitational, while UMD was coming off a win and tie against nationally-ranked Maine and Cornell in the Florida College Classic.
“We’ve come close in a lot of games and what we have to do is learn to finish teams off,” said Conner, Michigan Tech’s star senior left winger, who has 65 career goals and 123 points in 136 games. “We get in trouble when we sit back. We stayed on (UMD) tonight and got to every loose puck and outworked them. We wanted to win more than they did.”
UMD lost a chance to regain fifth place in the WCHA, staying one point behind North Dakota, which lost, 6-1, at Minnesota.
Instead, the Bulldogs got behind early and never caught up.
Two goals in the last eight minutes of the first period gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead. Winger Jimmy Kerr stole the puck in the UMD zone and went straight to the net with 7:11 left and winger Nick Anderson connected from the left circle on a power play with 80 seconds to go.
UMD had no shots in the game’s first five minutes, but ultimately outshot Michigan Tech, 10-9, in the opening period.
Four power plays gave Michigan Tech many scoring opportunities in the second period — outshooting UMD 19-8 — yet UMD got the only goal to pull within one goal. Reichmuth was particularly good in making 19 saves.
“When you don’t want to compete and work hard, the result is pretty lackluster,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “Give Michigan Tech credit, they were ready. We were a half-step slow. It’s embarrassing and shouldn’t happen in your home rink.”
Kemp finished a 3-on-2 rush as he came down the slot with 3:29 left in the second period for his fourth collegiate goal and first point in 10 games. Freshman defenseman Josh Meyers, returning after missing 12 games with a broken arm, earned an assist.
UMD did have some jump in the third period and Michigan Tech freshman goalie Michael-Lee Teslak made some decent stops, including a point-blank save on Andrew Carroll at 2:42.
“We’re at the bottom of the standings and we’re desperate for points. That’s how we played,” said Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell, whose team was cheered on by a vocal group of Huskies backers from Houghton, Mich.
Conner took any momentum away from UMD on a hustling play with center Taggart Desmet with 8:46 remaining for a 3-1 Huskies lead. Justin St. Louis got his first collegiate goal, into an empty net, with 41 seconds left and UMD winger Matt Greer also got his first UMD goal with 32 seconds to go.
It was Michigan Tech’s third-straight win at the DECC.
“Coming off the Florida trip and a good week of practice, we expected more. It’s such a shock to play this way,” said UMD captain Steve Czech. “Basically we didn’t score and we didn’t play good enough defense.”