HOUGHTON, Mich. — The Michigan Tech Huskies were less than gracious hosts for the WCHA-leading Colorado College Tigers at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Friday night.
After spotting the No. 3 Tigers a goal in the opening frame, the Huskies took control of the game, forcing the Tigers to rely heavily on freshman goaltender Richard Bachman to keep themselves in the contest. The teams skated to a 2-2 at the end of 65 minutes of action.
(Houghton) is a tough place to play, said Tigers head coach Scott Owens. I thought (Bachman) took it upon himself to keep them from scoring.
Neither team could get the early jump as both teams played so soundly in their own ends that it took four minutes for the Tigers to get the first shot on goal of the game, and first save for Huskies netminder Michael-Lee Teslak since December 14 at Northern Michigan.
You want to just come in and battle, said Teslak. (Bachman) is having a great year for them, and you just want to compete and try to earn the two points.
The Tigers did break the scoreless tie about a minute and a half later as Stephen Schultz netted his fourth of the season at 6:27. Schultzs initial shot didnt get through the stingy Huskies defense, but the puck rebounded back the freshman winger, and he made no mistake the second time, firing a wrist shot up over Teslaks right shoulder. Junior center Eric Walsky and sophomore defenseman Kris Fredheim both assisted on the goal.
I was in shock after that shot went past me, said Teslak. There was lots going through my mind.
The Huskies evened the game a minute and a half later as junior centerman Ryan Angelow took a pass from sophomore winger Ryan Bunger along the boards in the Tigers zone, cut toward the net, drew a delayed penalty, managed to keep control of the puck, continued toward the net, and beat Bachman to his right. The goal, which came at 9:00, was assisted by Bunger and junior Derek winger Derek Kitti.
I think (the goal) just happened with a lot of hard work, said Angelow.
The Huskies nearly netted another one four minutes later when assistant captain Tyler Shelast found junior winger Malcolm Gwilliam in front. Gwilliams shot got under Bachmans leg, but never crossed the goal line.
I thought we played well, said Huskies head coach Jamie Russell. We did a good job tonight.
The second period looked much like the latter stages of the first as the Huskies dominated most of the period, firing 16 shots at Bachman before penalties became a factor late in the period.
Just over six minutes in, Fredheim misplayed a pass at the Huskies blue line, and Kitti beat him to the loose puck before firing a backhand at Bachman.
Kitti is playing extremely well right now, said Russell. Hes skating, hes physical, hes making good decisions with the puck, and I think hes been our best forward over a five to six game stretch.
After the Tigers top line of captain Scott Thauwald, junior center Chad Rau, and senior winger Jimmy Kilpatrick had a couple of good chances, Huskies center Peter Rouleau got loose in front of Bachman, but fired a shot over Bachman. Rouleau fought for the puck behind the net and eventually fed Shelast for a one-timer in front, but again Bachman stood tall.
The Tigers finally managed some offense late in the period after a parade of penalties led to a brief four-on-three advantage. Rau cut to the middle of the ice for the best shot from the high slot, but somehow Teslak managed to make the stop through traffic.
Huskies captain Jimmy Kerr broke a 1-1 tie just four minutes into the third period when Bachman uncharacteristically surrendered a big rebound straight out in front of his net and Kerr gobbled it up. Freshman defenseman Deron Cousens fired the initial shot after taking a pass from freshman center Bennett Royer. The goal was Kerrs eighth of the season.
Coach has been preaching having the off-winger go hard to the net, said Kerr. I just went to the net hard and got the rebound.
After the Huskies took the one-goal lead, Teslak battened down the hatches, stopping sophomore center Andreas Vlassopoulos, whod cut in front. Less than a minute later, Teslak forced Walsky to misplay a puck that hed carried around three Huskies defenders.
The Tigers managed to even the game at two when sophomore winger Mike Testwuide redirected a pass from Vlassopoulos past Teslak with the man advantage. The goal, which came at 12:02, was Testwuides second of the season and first on the power play. Senior defenseman Jack Hillen also assisted on the goal.
The host Huskies controlled the extra frame with the help of an early power play.
With Rau off for roughing at the end of regulation, the Huskies had a golden opportunity in the extra session to steal the game, but Shelast couldnt find daylight behind Bachman.
(Rau) is our top penalty killer, said Owens. But weve been pretty strong on the penalty kill all season.
Russell called a timeout to rest his troops, and the move nearly worked as Rouleau took a pass from Kerr, but couldnt bury it as Bachman flew across the crease to make the stop.
We wanted to rest our top unit, said Russell. They had already been out on the ice for a minute, and (assistant coach) Pat (Mikesch) talked with our power play about some of the things he wanted to cover.
As the power play expired, Kerr fired a shot through traffic that snuck through Bachman, but never quite crossed the goal line. The Huskies would finish the extra session outshooting the Tigers 4-0.
The Huskies outshot the Tigers 33-30 for the game. The Tigers came away one-for-four on the power play while holding the Huskies to zero-for-three.
Teslak played well in his first action in over a month. Hed been knocked out of the game against Northern Michigan in Marquette when a Wildcats forward ran into him late in the third period. He remained among the nations leaders in most goaltending statistics despite the layoff.