DETROIT — Michigan Tech added solid team defense to timely late-game scoring, edging No. 18 North Dakota 2-1 in the consolation match-up of the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) tournament Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Jordan Baker’s ninth goal of the season at 14:02 of the third period gave Michigan Tech a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Huskies had seen their own slim one-goal lead disappear earlier in the period on North Dakota’s only tally of the game by Evan Trupp.
Baker found a rebound lying at the corner of the Fighting Sioux crease off a centering shot by Brett Olson and slipped it past North Dakota netminder Brad Eidsness for the deciding tally.
“Olsen got a shot on net,” explained Baker. “It might have hit somebody and came right onto my stick. I just put it in the back of the net.”
Although the Fighting Sioux managed to get 30 shots through to Michigan Tech goaltender Rob Nolan, their actual scoring chances were minimized by the Huskies’ solid team defense.
“I thought we did a great job tonight,” said Nolan. “All 16 forwards did a good job blocking shots and getting into the (passing) lanes.”
“I thought this afternoon we came to the rink with focus,” said Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell. “Yesterday afternoon, we turned the puck over a lot.”
Three crucial third period penalty kills preserved the Huskies’ win.
“I thought our penalty kill was outstanding, especially in the third period,” said Russell. “Ryan Angelow also did a great job on faceoffs in the third period.”
Playing the final GLI game of his career, Angelow finally broke the scoring ice with the game’s first goal late in the second period.
Angelow broke in on the right wing and, using a teammate in the slot as a decoy, rifled a bullet from his off-wing over the shoulder of Eidsness at 17:18.
Trupp’s third period one-timer from the right circle on a pass from Brett Hextall at 8:14 gave the Fighting Sioux an opening to take a lead of their own, but they couldn’t muster the offense for the comeback.
“We had good effort,” said North Dakota coach David Hakstol. “But, we weren’t sharp enough. You have to be sharp against teams that play well defensively. Give Michigan Tech credit; they played a good, strong hockey game.”
North Dakota (9-10-1) hops right back into action this coming weekend with a home-and-home pair of games with Bemidji St. The Huskies (5-15-2) take a weekend off before traveling to Denver for a two-game set with the Pioneers.