HOUGHTON, Mich. — Some ties are considered good ties, while others are often described as “kissing your sister.”
Saturday night’s 4-4 tie was considered a good tie by both the host Michigan Tech Huskies, who twice battled back from two-goal deficits, and the visiting Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“I liked the way we played,” said Bulldogs’ coach Scott Sandelin. “I thought we played better tonight than last night. I thought it was a good game. I thought both teams played a lot harder.”
Trailing by one with 90 seconds remaining in regulation, Huskies’ coach Mel Pearson pulled goaltender Kevin Genoe. With a faceoff deep in Bulldogs’ zone, winger Alex Petan pushed the puck out to defenseman Steven Seigo, who held the puck as he moved into the right side of the slot before beating goalie Aaron Crandell with a low wrist shot to far side at 19:10.
“Down 4-2, we could have easily packed it in with six minutes left,” said Seigo. “You have to give our team a lot of credit for just working hard and getting back to even.”
Looking for a better start than Friday night when they surrendered four goals in the first 10 minutes, the Huskies came out much harder. For all their hard work, however, they had seven of the game’s first 11 shots and no real good scoring chances to speak of.
With the game scoreless, MTU forward Blake Pietila took a retaliatory penalty, putting the Bulldogs on the man advantage. Winger Mike Seidel made the Huskies pay when he snatched up a rebound off a shot from defenseman Wade Bergman and beat Genoe at 13:46.
The Huskies responded to the goal with a strong shift, but couldn’t sustain the attack and the Bulldogs struck again almost two minutes later.
A missed pinch by Huskies’ defender Riley Sweeney led to a two-on-one break for Bulldogs’ winger Austin Farley and a second Bulldogs’ forward. Farley cut down the left side of the rink before unleashing a wrist shot that beat Genoe just inside the far post at 15:31.
As the first period came to a close, Michigan Tech winger David Johnstone found himself alone behind the Minnesota-Duluth defense. He made a quick move to his backhand, but was stopped by Crandell.
Crandell finished the night with 22 stops.
“I thought they played a lot tougher than last night,” said Pearson. “They really bottled us up. They really did a good job. I thought this was a good tie.”
The Bulldogs (4-7-3 overall, 2-5-3 WCHA) had a great opportunity to extend their lead to three with two consecutive power plays early in the second period and thought they had one 2:38 in.
Defenseman Andy Welinski’s shot from the left point bounced up and in the corner above Genoe’s glove. The play was ruled no goal as the puck hit the corner where the left pipe and crossbar meet.
In between those Bulldogs’ advantages, the Huskies managed to cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half when Johnstone took a pass in the slot from Sweeney. Johnstone turned into shooting position and beat Crandell cleanly for his third goal of the season at 6:49.
With Bulldogs’ winger Max Tardy and defenseman Derik Johnson both whistled for penalties, the Huskies (4-7-1 overall, 3-6-1 WCHA) had 1:26 of five-on-three advantage to try and tie the game. Their best chance came early in the power play when Seigo’s shot bounced down to Petan.
Petan’s shot beat Crandell, but hit the post rather than the net.
The Huskies tied the game early in the third period on another power play as center Jujhar Khaira, who racked up eight minutes in penalties himself over the weekend, took a pass from Petan and buried a shot behind Crandell at 4:43. Winger Ryan Furne picked up his second assist of the night on the goal.
“Getting that goal was really nice,” said Khaira. “It finally felt like I was contributing rather than taking penalties.”
Pietila took a penalty 30 seconds later and the Bulldogs made him pay.
Center Tony Cameranesi took a pass across the slot from Bergman and ripped a one-timer past Genoe at 6:45.
The Bulldogs struck again at 11:10 when winger Caleb Herbert tipped a shot from Welinski off the faceoff past Genoe.
Pietila redeemed himself with just over six minutes remaining in regulation when Petan’s initial shot kicked out to him in the slot. Pietila wasted little time firing a backhand into the gaping net. Khaira also assisted on the goal.
Genoe made 33 saves, including five in the overtime session, to preserve the tie.