HOUGHTON, Mich. — What has already been a trying season for Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell became seemingly worse Friday night after he watched his team play evenly with No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth for 20 minutes. From that point forward, the Bulldogs notched five unanswered goals over the final 40 to skate away with a 5-0 win at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“I thought in the first period, we did a good job containing Duluth,” Russell said. “I thought we deviated from what we needed to do in the second period where we complicated the game.”
Kenny Reiter earned his second shutout in the last three games, and Justin Fontaine and Jack Connolly each scored twice for the Bulldogs (16-5-3, 11-4-2 WCHA), who ran Michigan Tech’s winless streak to 19 games.
Huskies netminder Kevin Genoe, making his first start since Dec. 17, was called upon to make 10 stops in the first period. No stop was bigger than the save he made on Bulldogs forward Dan DeLisle. DeLisle cut in on a two-on-one, looked to pass, but instead fired a shot that Genoe handled.
It took the Bulldogs four minutes to strike in the second period, and just 58 seconds more to strike again. Forward J.T. Brown got behind the Huskies’ defense and roofed a wrist shot short side on Genoe at 4:07.
On the ensuing shift, Brown found forward Travis Oleksuk behind the Huskies’ goal. Oleksuk moved around the net until he could make a direct pass to Fontaine, who promptly found the back of the net quickly at 5:05.
“Brown scored a big-time goal to get us going,” said Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin. “It’s nice get again the lead and try to play to build off that, which we managed to do.”
The Huskies (3-17-3, 1-13-1) had two consecutive power plays to try to get back into the game. While they didn’t generate much on their first chance, on the second co-captain Brett Olson had a great chance to pull the Huskies within one, but his attempt to stuff the puck in slid just past the far post to Reiter’s left.
Fontaine notched his second of the night at 16:47 when he took a pass from Oleksuk, made a move to his backhand, and beat Genoe off the deke.
The Huskies again came out relatively flat in the third period, and Bulldogs forward Jack Connolly made them pay for it with the first of his two goals at 5:45. Forward David Grun made a perfect pass from the corner to Genoe’s right out front to Connolly, who made no mistake in burying the puck.
Jack Connolly’s second tally came on the man advantage from the right circle eight minutes later. From the left point, Faulk found Connolly on the back door, and Connolly again ripped a one-timer that Genoe had no chance of getting to.
Genoe made 22 stops in the loss for the Huskies as he fell to 2-8-1 on the season. Reiter made just 14 saves in getting the shutout for the Bulldogs. Reiter is now 9-3-2 for the season.
The Bulldogs finished 1-for-5 on the power play with that late goal. The Huskies went 0-for-3 on the evening.
The Huskies welcomed back assistant captain Bennett Royer in a limited role, but they were without leading scorer Milos Gordic, a freshman, and sophomore defenseman Carl Nielsen.
Video: Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin:
Video: Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell: