HOUGHTON, Mich. — The Michigan Tech Huskies could have used some more of that Winter Carnival magic to sting the No. 18 Colorado College Tigers, but couldn’t find any, as the Tigers got a pair of goals from Cody Lampl to skate away with a 4-1 win on Saturday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The win was the first for the Tigers in Houghton since January 29, 2005.
“We made (the game) a little bit difficult in the third period, but overall I thought we had a pretty good 60 minutes,” said Tigers’ coach Scott Owens. “We’re in dog fights every night and it was nice to get off to a quick start and get a couple.”
The Huskies (5-19-6 overall, 1-15-6 WCHA) earned a power play very early in the game, but failed to challenge Tigers’ netminder Richard Bachman at all. He was only forced to make eight saves in the period.
“I felt our first 20 minutes, we didn’t execute in any phase of the game,” said Huskies’ coach Jamie Russell. “We didn’t capitalize and we didn’t bury the puck.”
After getting several chances and not scoring last night, Scott McCulloch’s luck didn’t improve much, as he had a great tip off a shot from Ryan Lowery, but Huskies’ goaltender Rob Nolan made one of his 12 saves for the period.
Assistant captain Chad Rau got the Tigers on the board first with a wicked wrist shot that beat Nolan over the left shoulder at 8:29. The power-play marker, Rau’s 13th goal of the season, was assisted by Brian Connelly.
Junior winger Drew Dobson nearly evened the game for the Huskies when he cut behind Bachman, skated up the boards and fired back at the Tigers’ net. The rebound bounced off a Tigers’ defender and nearly crossed the line.
On their second penalty kill of the game, the Huskies played much stronger, forcing the Tigers to ice the puck twice. Unfortunately for the Huskies’ faithful, all the Tigers (14-9-7 overall, 10-8-4 WCHA) needed was a handful of seconds to pick up their second power-play tally of the night.
Lampl redirected a shot that bounced around through traffic and eluded Nolan to give the Tigers a two-goal lead at 15:35. Tyler Johnson assisted on the goal, Lampl’s first of the season.
In the second period, on the third Tigers’ power play of the night, the Huskies finally managed to keep the Tigers from getting set up at all, as only Rau was able to get a shot on goal near the end of the advantage.
Lampl netted his second of the game 3:08 in when he fired a rebound up over Nolan’s left shoulder. The unassisted goal put the Tigers in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game.
The Huskies wouldn’t lay down and die despite the huge deficit. Their hard work lead to two more power plays before the second frame ended, but nothing got past Bachman.
Freshman center Brett Olson nearly set up fellow classmates Bryce Reddick and Peter Rohn on two different opportunities, but the puck just hopped over the sticks of his intended targets.
Rohn had another golden opportunity to cut into the Tigers’ lead on the third power play of the period when he took a pass and tried to stuff a backhand past Bachman, who sprawled out to make the stop.
Tyler Johnson extended the Tigers’ lead to four early in the third period when he roofed a long wrist shot past Nolan. The goal, which came at 3:50 was Johnson’s fifth of the season and was assisted by Mike Testwuide. Johnson was named MVP of the series for his offensive efforts.
“Tyler is a young kid that’s been shooting the puck well for the last two months,” said Owens. “He’s just coming into his own.”
Russell yanked Nolan after the goal in favor of freshman Josh Robinson. The move helped change the momentum of the game slightly.
The Huskies managed to finally get a puck past Bachman 11:32 into the final frame when Deron Cousens ripped a slap shot from the right point that beat Bachman over his left shoulder. Assistant captain Geoff Kinrade and Olson both assisted on the goal, Cousens’ fourth of the season and second of the weekend.
“It’s obviously nice to put some numbers up on the board,” said Cousens. “We came up short tonight, and personal success is something I strive for, but the two points for the team are really all that matters right now.”