DULUTH, Minn. — A team desperate for a victory made things difficult for Minnesota Duluth on Friday night at the DECC.
Michigan Tech hasnt won since Oct. 31 and is the lowest-scoring team in Division I, but the Huskies have some bite.
UMD relied on its power play, the best in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, to beat Michigan Tech 3-1 before a crowd of 4,154 and extend its unbeaten streak to six (4-0-2).
Michigan Tech is 0-11-1 the past 12 games with eight straight losses.
Theyre a hardworking team that knows it has to limit the other teams chances. They dont give you much time to cycle the puck, said UMD sophomore winger Justin Fontaine, who had a goal and two assists for 24 points in 17 games. It was hard to get anything going, but we handled it well. We won a lot of battles and won the game on special teams.
Michigan Tech (2-14-1 and 1-11-1 in the WCHA) had a chance to break a scoreless tie early in the second period, but UMD goalie Alex Stalock turned away winger Eric Kattelus on a shorthanded breakaway. Less than two minutes later, UMD (8-4-5 and 5-4-4) went up 1-0 as center MacGregor Sharp put in a Mike Connolly rebound at the crease at 4:14 on a power play. It was Sharps ninth goal of the season.
In the one significant odd-man opportunity of the game allowed by the Huskies, UMD executed its best-looking 3-on-2 rush of the season, according to coach Scott Sandelin. Freshman Jack Connolly completed the play at the crease past goalie Rob Nolan after passes from Fontaine and Jordan Fulton.
We played pretty well defensively and generated some good chances ourselves, said Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell. It was a pretty even game.
The Huskies answered 88 seconds later on a power-play goal by winger Jordan Baker. It was his eighth goal of the season, more than a third of Michigan Techs total of 23 in 17 games.
Michigan Tech was within a goal through two periods, and still there through the early minutes of the third. But back-to-back penalties on the Huskies gave UMD a two-man advantage for 82 seconds and the Bulldogs converted. Fontaine hit from the left circle for his team high-tying ninth goal at 8:38.
We didnt come out as hard as we couldve to start the game, but it was a good team win and it was a Friday win. We havent had many of those, said UMD defenseman Mike Montgomery.
UMD is 2-2-4 on Fridays and 5-1-2 at home entering todays 7:07 p.m. rematch. The win, momentarily, put the Bulldogs into a tie for fourth in the WCHA with Colorado College (which opens a series today at Minnesota).
UMD led in total shots on goal 22-21.
That was a tough, tough game because Michigan Tech makes you earn everything you get, said Sandelin.
Kevin Pates covers Minnesota-Duluth for the Duluth News-Tribune in Duluth, Minn.