HOUGHTON, Mich. — Points are at a premium at this point in the WCHA season, and the No. 17 Minnesota Golden Gophers surrendered a costly pair in the race for the final home playoff slots Friday night in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Michigan Tech Huskies.
The Huskies leaned heavily on freshman goaltender Josh Robinson and junior winger Drew Dobson at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena for the win.
Weve obviously had a tough year, said Huskies head coach Jamie Russell. It does wonders for the morale in our locker room to get the (win).
Sophomore defenseman Deron Cousens scored the game-winning goal on the power play 2:56 into the extra session. His fifth goal of the season was assisted by assistant captain Geoff Kinrade and sophomore winger Jordan Baker.
I just got the pass from Geoff and just saw that there was nobody at the net, said Cousens. I just threw it there and obviously good things happen when you threw things at the net.
The Gophers (14-12-7 overall, 11-11-5 WCHA) struck quickly to get the early lead as winger
Tony Lucia stuffed a rebound past Robinson just 2:21. Center Patrick White and defenseman Kevin Wehrs both assisted on the goal as Wehrs fed White for the initial shot on net. For Lucia, the goal was his eighth on the year.
Using the goal as a springboard, the Gophers outskated the Huskies (6-22-7 overall, 2-18-7 WCHA) for the next four minutes until a crucial defensive breakdown gave the Huskies new life.
Any time you lose its disappointing, said Gophers head coach Don Lucia. You cant give up six goals and win in this league.
Junior winger Ryan Bunger took a pass from Cousens and fired a shot on net that Gophers goaltender Alex Kangas mishandled. Nobody picked up senior winger Justin St. Louis crashing the net, and St. Louis buried the loose puck past Kangas. The goal was St. Louis first of the season and it came at 6:24.
The Huskies jumped out quickly in the second period, getting a pair of goals from Dobson just 46 seconds apart. The first one, which came at 1:44, was a wicked wrist shot that beat Kangas over his left shoulder. Baker and senior Alex Gagne assisted on the goal.
Dobsons second goal came on a redirection off a pass from sophomore winger Bennett Royer. Royer fed Dobson from the corner to Kangas right. Freshman center Brett Olson also assisted on the goal.
Coach Lucia replaced Kangas with Kent Patterson, but the move proved futile early as the Huskies took a 4-1 lead just under two and a half minutes later as Baker launched a wrist shot past Pattersons left shoulder after picking up a loose puck at center ice for his 15th of the season.
Forward Ryan Flynn got the Gophers back in the game with his rebound goal at the 11-minute mark. Flynn buried a rebound after the initial scoring chance had by Lucia. White also assisted on the goal, which was Flynns sixth of the year.
The scoring didnt cease as, with time winding down late in the second period, the Gophers captain Ryan Stoa scored twice in the last 20 seconds.
The first goal, which came with exactly 20 seconds left in the period, was a rebound in front of Robinson that he couldnt find before Stoa buried it. Forward Jay Barriball assisted on the goal, Stoas 19th of the season.
The second goal, which came with just four seconds left, was assisted by defenseman Cade Fairchild and forward Jordan Schroeder. The goal was the direct result of sending every available Gophers player at the net, screening Robinson so that Stoa could find a seam to even the game.
Dobson notched his third tally of the game and fifth of the season 10:19 into the third period.
Taking a pass across the slot from Baker, Dobson beat Patterson with a low wrist shot. Freshman defenseman Ricky Doriott also assisted on the goal.
I just in the right place at the right time, said Dobson. It feels good to get a hat trick.
White needed two rebound chances for White to beat Robinson to even the game and force overtime at 16:02 of the third period. The goal, Whites seventh of the season, was assisted by Wehrs and forward Mike Hoeffel.
Robinson finished the game with 44 saves on 49 Gophers shots. The duo of Kangas and Patterson combined for 21 stops.
The hat trick by Dobson was the first by a Huskies player since Peter Rouleau netted one against Minnesota-Duluth on February 15, 2008.
Also, with the goal tonight, St. Louis has five goals and one assist in 11 career games against the Gophers.