HOUGHTON, Mich. — Looking to extend their winning streak to three games, the Minnesota Golden Gophers scored two key goals in the second period to skate away with a 3-2 win over the WCHA last-place Michigan Tech Huskies at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Saturday night.
“We needed to have a couple of wins up here to get us close to that .500 mark,” said Gophers’ coach Don Lucia. “I thought Michigan Tech played real well tonight. They made us work.”
With the win, the Gophers (8-9-1 overall, 6-7-1 WCHA) have earned at least a tie for seventh in the WCHA with 13 points.
The Gophers jumped all over the Huskies in the first few minutes of the game, forcing the Huskies (3-13-0 overall, 2-12-0 WCHA) to take a penalty at 4:46, as senior defenseman John Kivisto was whistled for interference.
Jake Hansen and the Gophers needed just over a minute to break through. Jordan Schroeder found Hansen on the back door and Hansen scored at 5:56. Co-captain Tony Lucia also assisted on the goal.
Not long after the goal, Nick Larson gave the Huskies their first power play, and the Huskies tied it up.
“I think we took a big step this weekend,” said Huskies coach Jamie Russell. “We were disciplined tonight. I thought we generated a lot of scoring chances.”
Kivisto made up for his earlier penalty by feeding captain Malcolm Gwilliam, whose slap shot from the blue line blew past Gophers’ goaltender Alex Kangas at 7:37. Senior Drew Dobson also assisted on the goal.
“Dobson made a good play on the boards and moved [the puck] over to John,” said Gwilliam. “I just tried to use the defenseman as a screen.”
After the Huskies’ goal, the Gophers pressed the attack constantly to try to regain the lead. Hansen had a chance from the high slot that Genoe stopped and the line of Patrick White, Nico Sacchetti and Mike Hoeffel had Genoe down and out, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
With the score tied in the second period, Nick Leddy came up with a huge play to keep the game square. Junior defenseman Deron Cousens fired a shot from the left point that hit Kangas and jumped up over his shoulder, where Leddy batted it out of the air.
A couple of minutes later, Taylor Matson took a pass from David Fischer deep in front of Genoe and buried the one-timer at 11:41. Co-captain Ryan Flynn also assisted on the goal.
“My line was working hard all game,” said Matson. “David Fischer was coming down the left side and made a great pass.”
The Huskies appeared to tie the game with 3:23 remaining when assistant captain Brett Olson fired a long shot past Kangas, but it was ruled that the shot hit the post and never went in.
Twelve seconds later, Mike Carmen stole the puck at center ice and skated in alone on Genoe, beating him to the glove side with a wrist shot for what would stand as the game-winning tally. The tally, which came at 17:11, was assisted by Mike Hoeffel.
The Huskies cut the Gophers’ lead to one in the third period when freshman winger Anthony Schooley threw the puck in front of Kangas. The puck hit a Gophers’ defender and snuck in at 9:02. Gwilliam and freshman defenseman Carl Neilson assisted on the goal.
Kangas made two of his 22 saves in the last minute of the game while the Huskies had Genoe pulled for an extra skater. Genoe made 28 saves in the loss.
Both teams finished one-for-three on the power play.