MINNEAPOLIS — Three goals. All from different players. Each their first tally of the season.
A great story line to be sure, but add in that each goal was one step in a remarkable comeback and that the last one came in overtime — in Mariucci — and Michigan Tech will long remember this game.
So it went for the No. 20 Huskies as they rallied past No. 14 Minnesota, 3-2.
The winner came at 1:14 of overtime on a slow knuckler from Alex Gagne that bounced past Alex Kangas. Gange picked the puck as Derek Peltier backed away in the Huskies zone. He skated up the ice on a 2-2 break and crisscrossed it to the left wall, flinging a slow floater on net that bounced past Kangas into the net.
“I just put it on net,” said Gagne. “I think it bounced on net. It went short side.”
The unassisted goal was Gagne’s first of the season and completed the come-from-behind victory.
“Two points on the road down 2-0. I’ll take it,” remarked Michigan Tech Coach Jamie Russell.
The comeback was hard fought and in many junctures looked unlikely to occur. The Gophers came out and controlled the first 14 minutes of the third. The Huskies had only tallied two shots in the third when Freshman Deron Cousens tied the game 2-2 late in the third on his first career goal, also unassisted.
Cousen’s goal was at a low angle wrister that caught the far corner. It was the first of two soft goals Kangas gave up that his coach believes should have been stopped.
“A couple bad goals is the difference in the game,” remarked Don Lucia.
Between the other pipes, Michael-Lee Teslak was stellar allowing only two tallies on numerous grade A chances all the way up to the final buzzer.
Three key stops highlighted the third. Teslak stopped a rebound shot by Ryan Flynn halfway through on the power play. He later stuffed Evan Kaufman on a breakaway.
The Gophers drew a power play with just 13 second left on a questionable checking from behind call. On the ensuing face off, Blake Wheeler tipped a shot that Teslak pushed aside from inches wide before the buzzer sounded to end regulation.
“He made some real good saves. Its the timely saves that is the difference in the game,” commented Lucia.
The penalty call on the Huskies was made right at 44 seconds into overtime when Ben Gordon went off for interference. Gagne’s shot was the first of the extra session by either team.
The Gophers adorned in their new alternate gold jerseys and all new forward lines jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the first on the Huskies on two tap in goals from the weak side.
Wheeler scored first at 5:33 on a feed from Jay Barribal shortly after Minnesota had killed off a penalty. The puck was kept in the zone by Ben Gordon who fed Barribal down deep. Barribal fed the puck backdoor to a wide open Blake Wheeler for the tap in.
Four minutes later Ryan Flynn scored on the power play on a similar looking play where the feed came from Tony Lucia off a pass from the blue line by Derek Peltier.
The Huskies actually outshot the Gophers 12-10 on the period, but quality attempts favored the Gophers, 8-2.
“It’s not the number of shots. Its the number of Grade A shots that matter,” remarked Lucia on his team giving up 38 shots.
The Huskies dominated the second period out shooting the Gophers 15-6 and brought the difference in the game to one goal.
Michigan Tech got on the board with the first career goal from junior John Schwarz. Peter Rouleau stole the puck off the boards behind the net to the right. He skated behind the net and threw a backhand pass out front. Schwarz was cheating in on the play and buried a one timer passed Alex Kangas.
Halfway through the second period, Kangas found himself in no mans land at the top of the circle as he came out to play a puck at the end of a power play. Kangas’ clearing attempt hit Rouleau. Rouleau fired a puck at the net. Defenseman Derek Peltier was backing up Kangas on the play and got a piece of the puck with his body saving a sure goal.
The win by the Huskies ended a four game winless skid while extended the Gophers own winless streak to four games.
The two teams play again Saturday night at Mariucci Arena.