HOUGHTON, Mich. — For the second straight weekend at home, Michigan Tech ran into a netminder who made things difficult for them at every turn.
Tommy Burke made a career-high 39 saves and Kevin Dufour added a pair of goals for visiting Bowling Green en route to a 3-2 win at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“We found a way to win,” said Falcons’ coach Chris Bergeron. “They came in waves. I think we got fortunate around their net a couple of times. Tommy Burke was a star tonight.”
Burke improved to 6-1-3 on the season with the win, but felt that the win was more important for his teammates than it was for himself.
“This is probably the only game this year where I’ve felt that I played to the ability I can,” said Burke. “There are games where I haven’t and the team’s backed me up. It feels good to come out and maybe get a win for them.”
Burke was challenged almost from the drop of the puck as Riley Sweeney fired a shot that rebounded to C.J. Eick, whose rebound attempt was also stopped by Burke.
Every great goalie has help from the posts every now and then and Burke got that when Eick carried the puck behind the Falcons’ net before feeding it to Alex Petan. The Huskies’ top scorer beat Burke with a shot, but not the crossbar.
Eick was at it again in his next shift as he got a breakaway pass. Eick attempted to beat Burke low with a wrist shot, but was again denied.
The Falcons got on the scoreboard when Matt Pohlkamp took a cross-ice pass from Pierre-Luc Mercier. Pohlkamp fired a low wrist shot back to Huskies’ goalie Pheonix Copley’s right. The goal, which came at 11:45, was also assisted by Mike Sullivan.
“I thought we played with a lot of energy,” MTU coach Mel Pearson said. “I thought we played well, but our goalie had an off night. I liked a lot of the things we did tonight. It was just one of those nights.”
Burke went right back to work at the start of the second as he stopped Jake Johnstone on a two-on-one chance just about three minutes in. On the next shift, Burke came up with a great save off a chance by Reid Sturos in the slot.
With teammate Rusty Hafner in the box for interference, Burke was again challenged as Sweeney skated through two BGSU defenders and fired a shot at Burke. The shot beat Burke, but hit the post to his left.
On the same power play, the Huskies tied the game when Sturos found Ryan Furne on the left side of the ice. Furne wasted no time beating Burke with the shot at 5:36. Brent Baltus also assist on the goal.
“We get 40 shots a game,” said Furne. “‘We canÕt seem to get more than two goals in a game. It’s something that we need to work on.”
Another power play saw the Huskies almost take the lead when Daniel Sova’s blast from the left point rebounded to Sturos, who sent a backhand just wide, however.
The Huskies kept the Falcons (8-8-3 overall, 6-6-1 WCHA) from getting pucks through to Copley throughout the middle frame until Dufour got one through from the left boards. His shot, which was the Falcons’ first of the period, and was set up off a pass from Mark Cooper, beat Copley at 15:40 to regain the Falcons’ lead.
Dufour extended the lead just 1:42 into the third when he skated in on a one-on-two and ripped a low wrist shot that beat Copley. Jose Delgadilo assisted on the goal.
The goal ended Copley’s nigh as Matt Wintjes came in to make his first appearance of the season.
Michigan Tech (6-9-4 overall, 4-4-3 WCHA) had an extended five-on-three advantage about midway through the third, but some stingy defense by the Falcons and more clutch stops by Burke preserved the lead.
Pearson pulled Wintjes with 2:47 left and a faceoff in the offensive zone. The decision paid off immediately as Petan fired a shot off a pass from co-captain Blake Pietila that eluded Burke just four seconds later. Assistant captain Tanner Kero won the draw that started the play.
A couple of penalties over the final two minutes saw the Huskies with a five-on-three advantage with Wintjes pulled again with 21.5 seconds remaining, but could not find a way to beat Burke a third time.