UMD men rally to beat Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- The vagaries of hockey have been central to Minnesota Duluth's rivalry with Michigan Tech this season. After three games, UMD faced these statistics versus the Huskies: a shots-on-goal advantage of 134-60 and a 1-2 record. The No.

Fight for the puck
Minnesota Duluth's Dave Grun (27) fights for the puck with Michigan Tech's Mikael Lickteig (17) in the second period Saturday in Houghton, Mich. Minnesota Duluth won the game 3-2. (Submitted photo / Jordan Doffing)

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- The vagaries of hockey have been central to Minnesota Duluth's rivalry with Michigan Tech this season.

After three games, UMD faced these statistics versus the Huskies: a shots-on-goal advantage of 134-60 and a 1-2 record.

The No. 6-ranked Bulldogs looked to reverse the win-loss trend Saturday afternoon in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's game at MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

The Bulldogs accomplished their mission by rallying with goals 1:50 apart in the third period -- on a power play from Drew Akins and shorthanded by Mike Connolly -- for a 3-2 victory before a crowd of 2,464 on Winter Carnival weekend. UMD led 39-23 in shots on goal.

"The games were a lot harder than we expected. Michigan Tech doesn't score a lot, but they don't give up a lot, and when we fell behind 2-0, it wasn't where we wanted to be. Another loss would've been catastrophic," said Akins, UMD's captain, whose team was 1-4 the previous five games. "We said 'Don't look too far ahead.' We knew it might take us until the end of the game to pull ahead, if then."


Last-place Michigan Tech (5-22-1 and 4-18) led 2-0 after one period, but UMD scored the final three goals. Kenny Reiter got the victory in goal as the Bulldogs (18-11-1 and 14-7-1) moved to first place in the WCHA, one point ahead of Denver, which was playing out of conference. St. Cloud State is tied at the top with 29 points.

The first period wasn't the kind of start UMD sought, while Michigan Tech used two nice plays from left winger Jordan Baker. He put a long cross-ice pass on the tape of defenseman Steven Seigo for a goal at 9:38. Baker later tipped a Seigo drive from the left circle on Michigan Tech's first power play with 2:59 left in the opening period.

"That was a tough hill to climb, but I never felt we were out of the game," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "We hung in there, but we were facing a great goalie [in Kevin Genoe]. I don't know how he wasn't named MVP of the Winter Carnival [an honor that went to Michigan Tech center Eric Kattelus]."

UMD earned the only goal of the second period as winger David Grun got to a rebound in the crease and knocked the puck off Genoe's left arm with 8:39 left with a man advantage. UMD had been 0-of-7 on power plays in the series and 3-of-33 the past six games.

Michigan Tech certainly had chances to add to its lead, including an open-net situation during.

"We had a wraparound that missed, then I think we hit two pipes [all in the open-net situation]. We had our foot on the gas and didn't sit on the lead," said Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell. "But we had too many penalties [11 to UMD's six]. I can't fault our guys. The calls went against us."

Because Rob Bordson had just finished a shift, Akins was put on a power-play unit with Justin Fontaine and Jack and Mike Connolly in the third period. He was asked to stand in front of the net for loose pucks and got a Fontaine rebound. He put a backhand attempt that just did get through Genoe's legs, tying the game 2-2 with 9:34 remaining.

On a penalty kill shift, Jack Connolly started a rush out of the zone, Mike Connolly carried in for a shot, Genoe made the save, but UMD defenseman Wade Bergman went hard to the net to bother the goalie. Mike Connolly's 11th goal of the season came from the right edge with 7:44 to go.


"We got a big lift on Grun's goal and then started to play with some urgency, something we didn't have Friday," Mike Connolly said. "We finally got to the net and gave [Genoe] something to worry about."

Two Michigan Tech penalties in the game's final three minutes prevented the Huskies from any last-ditch effort to tie. Michigan Tech, 73-40-10 on Winter Carnival weekends, still has won only on Friday this season. UMD lost freshman center Dan DeLisle to a knee injury three minutes into the game, but it was diagnosed as not serious.

UMD, 17-1-1 when scoring three goals or more this season, is off until a Feb. 19-20 series at North Dakota.

Minnesota Duluth......0-1-2--3

Michigan Tech..........2-0-0--2

First period - 1. Michigan Tech, Steven Seigo 3 (Jordan Baker, Eric Kattelus), 9:38; 2. Michigan Tech, Baker 8 (Seigo, Kattelus), 17:01 (pp). Penalties - Rob Bordson, UMD (roughing), 10:10; Mikael Lickteig, Michigan Tech (roughing), 10:10; Carl Nielsen, Michigan Tech (hooking), 10:28; Justin Fontaine, UMD (hooking), 16:29.

Second period - 3. UMD, David Grun 3 (Scott Kishel, Travis Oleksuk), 11:21. Penalties - Bordson, UMD (slashing), 2:56; Brett Olson, Michigan Tech (cross-checking), 2:56; Kattelus, Michigan Tech (tripping), 4:10; Nielsen, Michigan Tech (holding), 10:00; Ricky Doriott, Michigan Tech (tripping), 16:07.

Third period - 4. UMD, Drew Akins 6 (Justin Fontaine, Mike Connolly), 10:26 (pp); 5. UMD, M. Connolly 11 (Jack Connolly, Wade Bergman), 12:16 (sh). Penalties - Dylan Olsen, UMD (holding), 5:49; Mike VanWagner, Michigan Tech (holding), 10:04; Drew Olson, UMD (holding), 11:54; John Kivisto, Michigan Tech (hooking), 17:20; Brett Olson, Michigan Tech (kneeing), 18:21; Kivisto, Michigan Tech (roughing), 20:00; Fontaine, UMD (roughing), 20:00; bench, Michigan Tech, 20:00.


Shots on goal - UMD 11-14-14--39, Michigan Tech 10-7-6--23.

Goalies - Kenny Reiter (10-6), UMD (23 shots-21 saves); Kevin Genoe (4-15-1), Michigan Tech (39 shots-36 saves). Power plays - UMD 2-of-7; Michigan Tech 1-of-3.

Referees - Brian Thul, Scott Boak. Assistants - Sean Jacques, Damon Beiring.

A - 2,464.

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