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College Hockey:
Gordic’s hat trick propels Michigan Tech to upset of Denver

— The Michigan Tech Huskies defended their undefeated home streak, defeating No. 2 Denver University in a 7-2 win. Milos Gordic tallied a hat trick for the Huskies in his 2011 season debut.

“Off the bat, I just wanted to get comfortable and throw some hits early, get in the corners, and a couple shifts into it, I felt pretty good, and it went from there,” said Gordic following his hat trick debut.

Five other Huskies also made the score sheet, as they remained undefeated at home with a 5-0-0 record.

The Pioneers arrived in Houghton fresh off a sweep of Minnesota State, and undefeated in WCHA play this season.

“I think you saw a great example of a team that was prepared to play and compete very hard and execute and perform, versus a team who was thinking how things went last Saturday night,” said Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky of his team’s mental state going into tonight’s game.

A slow start for the Pioneer allowed the Huskies to pull ahead quickly in the first.

Huskies forward Tanner Kero opened the scoring at 1:53 into the first period, netting his third of the season after linemate Alex MacLeod batted the puck off the boards behind the net and it landed in Adam Murray’s crease, where Kero was positioned to slam it into the back of the net.

The Pioneers rallied with a goal of their own at 4:23 when Pioneers defender Joey LaLeggia released a rocket from the point that soared over Josh Robinson’s shoulder.

A power-play goal from Gordic at 10:06 set the Huskies ahead when Ryan Furne took the initial shot and Gordic was right alongside his teammate to pick up the rebound and net his first of the season. Furne crashed the net and lost his footing and slammed right into Murray, who left the game from the injury.

Freshman Juho Olkinuora stepped up to take Murray’s place for what was his first action of his Pioneers career.

Ryan Furne scored a goal of his own at 10:22 to close out the first period with the Huskies ahead 3-1.

The Pioneers had close calls in the second period, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities to catch up.

“It’s a lot easier to play with a lead than it is to catch up,” said Gwozdecky. “Tonight is not a good night for some of our sticks to go quiet.”

The Huskies increased their lead at 3:17 in the second after Gordic tipped in Dan Sova’s shot from the point.

The Pioneers thought they had gotten back into the game with a goal, but the review found the puck had gone in off a skate. The third period brought more bad luck for the Pioneers.

At 7:06 into the period, the Pioneers attempted to regroup with a timeout. Taking the ice again, they pulled their goaltender in hopes that the six-on-five advantage would give the offense the kick-start it needed.

The Huskies did not give them the opportunity, as Gordic forced a turnover, leading to a breakaway that gave him his third goal of the game at 3:59. The Pioneers left their net empty, and captain Brett Olson netted two more goals before the netminder came back in.

“After the first goal, I’m thinking OK, you know what, we may not be able to come back in this game, but it’s a good opportunity to try to work on our six-on-five situations,” said Gwozdecky of his decision to keep the empty net after the first goal. “But Tech didn’t really give us a chance to.”

A final goal from the Pioneers with less than two minutes remaining in the game set the score at a 7-2 final.

“I thought we matched up well against them,” said Huskies coach Mel Pearson, “We got off to a good start, and that’s important. It’s our home ice; we have to set the tone on how we’re going to play. My concern now is to make sure you play the same way from start through the end. Regardless of what the score is, regardless of what’s going, you have to keep maintaining that pace of play and standard of play.”

Robinson left the ice with 38 saves. Murray made three before being injured, and Olkinuora made 18 in his career debut.

The two teams return for more WCHA action tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBX3ZLT5XKNZDOL2YZHPVX27VI STEVEN P

    So nice to see some great hockey returning to the U P.

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t exactly call that “great hockey.”  MTU got 3 PP goals on 6 PPs, which means Denver was a little undisciplined.  Denver played a backup goalie for much of the game, and then 3 of the goals were on an empty net.  The 7-2 score is a little misleading; Denver took 40 shots and had 2 goals.  That won’t happen very often with a team like Denver.  Credit goes to MTU no doubt, but keep it in perspective.  MTU got great goaltending and benefitted from the empty-net situation and Denver’s march to the penalty box.  Without the empty-net, this is a 4-2 game and I don’t think we can draw a lot about the quality of a team from a one-time upset.  Keep in mind, this is a team that’s only played two games on the road – both losses.  Now if MTU does this again Saturday night, we maybe can entertain the idea that this is a better MTU team than its recent history, but for now, let’s keep it in perspective.  My guess is Denver comes back and has a much better game Saturday night.

    • Guest

      2 pp goals, 2. and 30 shots. and great goaltending. great win

    • Looking Up

      I attended the Tech-Wisconsin series and this is definitely a new era in Tech hockey. This team believes they can win and they are going to raise a few eyebrows this year. I’m not saying that they won’t have their ups and downs but Mel Pearson is the real deal and has this team on the right track. Gordic was the leading goal scorer last year and his return will make a difference. One of their starting defensemen is still out but will be back soon. In the sweep by Bemidji Tech outshot them 32 to 16 Saturday night. Denver likely will win tonight but for a program coming from so far down I’ll take a sweep of Wisconsin and a split with Denver anytime.

      • Bradsalmen

        Amen. Yeah, Tech may still not be in the upper echelon just yet, but my goodness it’s actually fun to watch the team this year. With the return of Gordic, they have three solid lines and the future looks great. The above post is laughable — ” Now if MTU does this again Saturday night, we maybe can entertain the
        idea that this is a better MTU team than its recent history, but for
        now, let’s keep it in perspective.” Are you kidding? This team won four games last year, and they just beat the number two team in the nation.

  • Guest

    It was great hockey. One team was hustling, taking good shots, and playing smart. The other team was Denver. They expected to walk in and win because, I guess, they are Denver? Gwoz, if you are reading this, you might want a better gameplan. Nobody cares if you are Denver. I enjoyed reading the spin of the previous post. No mention of the fact that Denver just got whooped and the whole team quit half way through the third. The best part is we are supposed to withhold judgment on the current Tech team. They may not be better than last year. You’re kidding, right? I almost had a stroke I was laughing so hard!!!

  • Guest

    Out of curiosity, anyone know why Jacob Johnstone was out of the lineup for Tech?

    • stuckinwi

      He was sick during the week and missed 3 practices, they were letting him rest up. 

    • Guest

      Rumor is the flu

  • Wingding

    Michigan Tech just tied Denver and Denvert had to hold off MTU in overtime. What a change for MTU. Tell me the coaching change is NOT the difference?

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