MANKATO, Minn. — It was a night of seconds for Minnesota State Friday night.
Sophomore Ryan Carter notched his second career hat trick, and freshman Dan Tormey stopped all 26 shots he faced for his second career shutout as MSU defeated Michigan Tech 4-0 at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center.
The Mavericks (8-10-3 WCHA, 12-13-4 overall) outshot MTU 44-26 in the game. The other MSU goal came from Travis Morin, and defenseman Jon Dubel chipped in two assists in the victory.
“I thought it was a pretty solid effort,” MSU coach Troy Jutting said.
The win gave MSU seven victories in its last nine games and kept the Mavericks in the race for home ice in the first round of the WCHA.
“I really think it’s a continuation of the way we’ve played for awhile,” Jutting said. “I think we’ve played pretty good hockey. The difference is we’re starting to score some goals.”
Minnesota State was the dominant team for most of the night, and an aggressive fore check in the first period gave the Mavericks a lead they would not relinquish.
Immediately after a MTU power play expired, David Backes stripped Jake Wilkens of the puck in the MTU zone. Backes and teammate Travis Morin went in alone on Husky goalie Michael-Lee Teslak. Morin eventually got the puck and backhanded it past the MTU netminder at 10:03 of the first.
“Fantastic playDavid played a very good hockey game tonight,” Jutting said.
Tormey turned away eight shots in the first period to preserve MSU’s 1-0 lead. The freshman came up big late in the period when the Huskies applied pressure during a late four-on-three power play.
“I just had to stay focused,” Tormey said. “I knew going in, we didn’t want to come back in the locker room even. We wanted to stay up on them. Fortunately we were still up on them. We just kept rolling with that.”
The Mavericks were able to keep MTU (5-11-3 WCHA, 6-18-3 overall) scoreless on all four man advantages the Huskies had in the game.
“On specialty teams, we had some good chances, but we didn’t bear down and bang it in,” MTU coach Jamie Russell said. “We had a couple opportunities where I thought we should have buried it, and we didn’t convert.”
In the second, Carter exploded with two goals to give MSU a 3-0 lead.
Four seconds after an MSU power play ended, Carter maintained puck control and cut into the slot. The sophomore showed patience before putting a wrist shot past Teslak at 7:24 of the period.
Just 1:35 later, Carter tallied again. On a partial breakaway, the forward fired the puck low five-hole to beat the MTU goalie.
“I think it’s maturity, confidencehe starting to make those types of plays,” Jutting said. “I thought he showed very good patience tonight on a couple of those.”
Another late surge tested Tormey in the second. A face off in the MSU zone led to numerous chances by the Huskies, but Tormey was able to stand off Michigan Tech.
Carter capped the score and his hat trick at 13:49 of the third. Positioned along the goal line on the right side of the goal, Carter put a backhander towards Teslak that caromed off the goalie’s breezers and into the net.
“The third one, I think it was just his night. He got a bounce there,” Tormey said.
Carter is second on the team with 16 goals. Morin leads the team with 17 tallies.
“My philosophy is, ‘Shoot the puck and eventually, if you shoot enough, it’s going to go in.’ And tonight, it did,” Carter said.
Tormey, who has seen near shutouts lost in the final minutes of other games this year, was called on late in the third. A power play with 2:04 left forced Tormey to stop two chances by MTU’s Nick Anderson before the game ended.
“He obviously made some big saves at key times that were critical for us,” Jutting said of Tormey.
On the other side of the ice, MTU was hurt early on when forward Ryan Angelow got injured after one shift on the ice. Later on, defenseman John Scott was removed from the game after a checking-from-behind penalty, reducing the Huskies to 16 skaters.
Russell also thought it was evident that his team didn’t play last weekend.
“I didn’t think we were as sharp as we should have been tonight in terms of our passes. I thought we had a lot of rust on our game tonight,” Russell said.
The Huskies and Mavericks will conclude their WCHA series tomorrow night. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. C.T.
“It’s obviously a big game for us,” Russell said. “We need the points desperately. We’ll regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”