UMD defeats Michigan Tech in OT
After a disappointing first half of the season, Minnesota Duluth started 2007 in style Friday night. The Bulldogs beat Michigan Tech 2-1 in overtime in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's game before 3,839 at the DECC. Here's what came ...
After a disappointing first half of the season, Minnesota Duluth started 2007 in style Friday night.
The Bulldogs beat Michigan Tech 2-1 in overtime in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's game before 3,839 at the DECC.
Here's what came with the victory:
r Defenseman Matt Niskanen's first career game-winning goal on a powerful drive from high on the left side with 3:10 left in a five-minute overtime.
r The first consecutive wins this season, following a 4-3 victory over Bowling Green last Saturday.
r A six-game home losing streak broken.
r A five-game winless streak against Michigan Tech broken.
"This was big for us, this was something we could really use. We wanted to start off good, especially at home,'' said Niskanen, tied for UMD's scoring lead with 21 points. "We played a lot better defensively and with more confidence. For a lot of the game we shut them down.''
UMD (6-13-3 and 3-10-2 WCHA) scored shorthanded from Bryan McGregor and 4-on-4 from Niskanen, and got 19 saves from senior goalie Josh Johnson. The Bulldogs entered the series in a 1-9-1 streak the last 11 games in the WCHA.
Michigan Tech (8-11-2 and 5-8-2) is 2-8-1 the last 11 games overall and had swept at North Dakota in its last league series. Winger Malcolm Gwilliam tied the game 1-1 with 38 seconds left in the second period and sophomore goalie Rob Nolan had 20 saves.
"We weren't as crisp mentally as we have been. We had some weak links in the chain,'' said Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell. "Four-on-4, especially, isn't our forte. It certainly didn't swing the pendulum to our advantage in overtime.''
The teams were even statistically. UMD led in shots on goal 22-20 and had nine minor penalties. The Huskies had eight minors. UMD was 0-of-5 on power plays, while Michigan Tech was 0-of-6 (and is a Division I low 8-of-113 for the season.)
The Bulldogs had the better of the offensive chances in the first two periods with the game scoreless. In the first period, Niskanen put a shot off the pipe, Nolan got a blocker on a Mason Raymond shot and stopped Mike Curry from the crease. Raymond and Nick Kemp were turned away in the first five minutes of the second period.
While killing a Matt Greer penalty, the Bulldogs went up 1-0 at 9:24 of the second period. Raymond pushed the puck up the left side, slid it to the slot and McGregor figured Nolan was guessing forehand and instead poked a one-handed shot to the opposite side for his fifth goal of the season.
"The harder we work the more bounces we get. That's what we have to do,'' said McGregor. "Right now we'll take anything we can get.''
Michigan Tech responded as Gwilliam stole the puck at the right circle of the offensive zone and whipped a high backhanded shot by Johnson.
In the third period, UMD's Matt McKnight hit a pipe, and Johnson stopped Geoff Kinrade and Jimmy Kerr on good chances.
The winning play came following a faceoff in the Michigan Tech end. UMD's Jordan Fulton won the draw to defenseman Jay Cascalenda, who passed quickly cross-ice to the left point. The Huskies had already blocked 22 shots, so Niskanen said he wasn't going to waste any time. He shot through traffic and the puck clanked to the back of the net to tie him for the team goal-scoring lead at seven. It came with McKnight and Michigan Tech's Tyler Skworchinski off with matching cross-checking minors.
The goal resembled a Jason Garrison shot which gave UMD its last home victory, 2-1 in overtime against Denver on Oct. 27. It was the last time the Bulldogs had won on a Friday.
"We were better in a lot of areas, especially defensively and in our intensity,'' said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. "Michigan Tech makes you earn everything you get and and we did a good job of staying with it and getting a win.''