HOUGHTON, Mich. — Looking for a sweep to open their WCHA schedule, the Michigan Tech Huskies jumped out quickly against the Minnesota State Mavericks. The Huskies (3-1-0 overall, 2-0-0 WCHA) scored four first period goals and junior winger Malcolm Gwilliam notched five points as the Huskies cruised to a 7-1 victory over the visiting Mavericks (0-2-0 overall, 0-2-0 WCHA) at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Saturday night in front of 2645 fans.
“I thought if you look at the scoresheet, we had a lot of guys scoring tonight,” said Huskies’ head coach Jamie Russell. “Points are so valuable in this league and to get four at home is huge for us.”
Freshman winger Jordan Baker got things going for the Huskies, picking up his first career goal just 2:09 into the game. Baker picked up the puck just inside the blue line and skated into Mavericks’ goalie Dan Tormey. Tormey and the puck ended up in the back of the net, and the Huskies had the lead. Senior center Peter Rouleau and junior defenseman Geoff Kinrade assisted on the goal.
It took the Mavericks almost six minutes to get the puck deep in the Huskies’ defensive zone and a little more than seven minutes to get a good shot through to Huskies’ netminder Rob Nolan. The junior was ready for everything the Mavericks threw at him, stopping thirteen in the opening frame.
“The Huskies are a veteran team, and they used that momentum,” said Mavericks’ head coach Troy Jutting.
The Huskies opened a two-goal lead when junior center Ryan Angelow netted his second goal of the season by firing a wrist shot from the high slot past Tormey. Angelow received a pass from junior winger Alex Lord, and the pair skated in two-on-one before Angelow unleashed the hard shot. The goal came at 13:07 and proved the game winner. Junior winger Justin St. Louis also assisted on the goal.
With a two-man advantage for 1:22, the Huskies struck again when Rouleau roofed a wrist shot from just to Tormey’s left. Kinrade and Gwilliam both picked up assists on the goal.
Not yet finished, Gwilliam unleashed a quick wrist shot from the high slot that snuck through Tormey’s legs for his first of the season. The goal, which came at 19:58 of the period, might have been a backbreaker for the Mavericks. Freshman winger Bennett Royer and senior defenseman Mark Malekoff assisted.
“I was pretty tough on myself the first couple of games of the season,” said Gwilliam. “It was really nice to help the team out tonight.”
Jutting replaced Tormey with junior goalie Mike Zacharias, Friday’s starter, but it did little to stop the bleeding, despite stronger play from the Mavericks overall.
“In some ways we played much better tonight than we did last night,” said Jutting. “The score obviously doesn’t reflect that.”
Down a man with captain Joel Hanson in the box, Jon Kalinski had the best chance of the game to that point when he blew past both Huskies’ defenders and skated in alone on Nolan from center ice, but couldn’t quite find the net as Nolan stood his ground.
“Jon is making some plays,” said Jutting. “Their goalies played well all weekend long, and I credit them, but Jon’s got to find a way.”
With another two-man advantage for some 52 seconds, Gwilliam netted his second of the game. Rouleau had fired a puck off the post to Zacharias’ left that kicked out to Kinrade at the blueline. Kinrade fed it back to Rouleau who set up Gwilliam for the shot from the right point. The goal came at 12:56.
The Mavericks finally seemed to really settle in as the Huskies backed off offensively. Sophomore winger James Gaulrapp had a solid shot from out near the blue line that Nolan saw all the way with about four minutes left. Gaulrapp had another golden opportunity with just over a minute remaining in the period when he split the Huskies’ defense, and skated in alone, but Nolan thwarted him again.
Junior center Alex Gagne nearly gave the Huskies a six-goal lead as the second period wound down when he cut in on Zacharias while firing the puck twice, but both times Zacharias stood tall.
The Mavericks finally broke through just 1:43 into the third period when Trevor Bruess netted his first of the season. The puck came off the boards to Nolan’s right and took a strange hop to Bruess, who had a wide open net.
The game started to take a bit of an ugly tone 30 seconds later when freshman defenseman Channing Boe elbowed Huskies’ captain Jimmy Kerr in the head, knocking Kerr out of the game. The Huskies could not capitalize on the man advantage.
The Huskies regained the five-goal lead when freshman center Eric Kattelus notched his first collegiate goal at 7:53. Kattelus picked up the puck in the slot, froze Zacharias with a fake shot, moved slightly to his left, and ripped a wrister past Zacharias on the right side. Gwilliam and sophomore defenseman Drew Dobson assisted.
“It was kind of a broken play,” said Kattelus. “I just shot it as hard as I could.”
With their sixth man advantage of the game, the Huskies netted their third power play marker as junior winger Justin St. Louis buried a rebound from just to Zacharias’ left. Gwilliam and Kattelus both assisted on St. Louis’ first of the season.
Gwilliam had a golden opportunity for a hat trick in the last couple of minutes of the game as he and Baker skated in two-on-one. Baker waited as long as possible before feeding Gwilliam, but Gwilliam hit the post.
“We showed some of the mistakes of an opening weekend,” said Jutting. “I think your team improves the most from the first to the second weekend of the year.”
Nolan finished the game with 35 stops in his second win of the season.
“I knew that I needed to have a better game than I did last weekend,” said Nolan. “We all know that we can be better every game.”
The four WCHA points are huge for the Huskies, who will host top-ranked North Dakota next weekend at MacInnes.
The Mavericks will look to rebound from this tough weekend at Alaska-Anchorage.