HOUGHTON, Mich. — The Michigan Tech Huskies were looking to return home for the first time in a month and break out of their five game losing streak in a big way against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
However, a pair of second period goals from Mike Hoeffel evened the game and a late goal won it for the Gophers, 3-2, at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Friday night.
Its just nice to win on Friday night, said Gophers head coach Don Lucia. I thought it was a hard fought game. They dont give up much five on five.
With the game tied at two apiece, Patrick White knocked a puck out of the air with 26 seconds left in the game to get the Gophers the win. Assistant captain Jordan Schroeder and co-captain Tony Lucia each assisted on the goal.
When theres under a minute left in the game, you really just want to get the puck to the net and hope to get a good bounce, said White. Fortunately, I was there to bat the puck in.
The Huskies started the game much like their last several: with a penalty. However, the Huskies, who have the nations worst penalty kill, managed to kill off the infraction. Hoeffel gave the Huskies their first power play at 6:56 and the Huskies didnt wait long to use it to their advantage.
Brett Olson, an assistant captain, threw the puck from the left boards towards the Gophers net and the puck snuck past Gophers netminder Alex Kangas at 7:25 off a deflection. Freshman winger Evan Witt and freshman defenseman Steven Seigo assisted on the goal, Olsons eighth of the season.
The Huskies were forced to take two more penalties in the opening frame. On both man advantages, the Gophers tried to set up a man on the back door, but couldnt quite get the play to work. The closest chance the Gophers earned came on the stick on Hoeffel, but he hit the side of the net behind Huskies netminder Kevin Genoe.
I thought we did a good job on the [penalty kill], said Huskies head coach Jamie Russell. Power play was 2-for-2, it would have been nice a couple more opportunities to cash in.
Assistant captain Jordan Baker extended the Huskies lead on their second power play of the night. Taking a pass from senior defenseman John Kivisto, Baker fired the puck past Kangas at 3:51 of the second. Senior Drew Dobson also assisted on the goal.
Dobson made a great play to keep it in on the blue line and he made a nice pass to John Kivisto, said Baker. Kivisto managed to find me back door and I shot it as hard as I could.
Hoeffel scored his first of the night on the power play at 9:12. Nico Sacchettis initial shot kicked out to Hoeffel who made no mistake, burying the puck in the back of the net to Genoes left. Patrick White also assisted on the goal.
A little over nine minutes later, Hoeffel stole a puck in the Huskies defensive zone, cut into the slot and beat Genoe, who was cheating across the crease. The unassisted marker came at 18:15.
Genoe would make 17 stops in the second period before making 12 more in the third period en route to a 37 save performance in the loss for the Huskies.
Kangas made 23 stops in earning his sixth win of the season.
This was one of the biggest wins of the season for us, said White. Now we have to come back tomorrow night with just as much intensity.
The Huskies (3-12-0 overall, 2-11-0 in the WCHA) went 2-for-2 on the man advantage while holding the Gophers (7-9-1, 5-7-1) to one goal in four chances.