The Huskies traveled to the other end of Lake Superior this weekend and continued to play well. A win Friday and a shootout win Saturday gives the Huskies five out of six points in the WCHA standings for the weekend and continues the positive trend against the Lakers for Tech, who haven’t lost to LSSU in thirteen games.
It didn’t take long for the Huskies to get going in the Soo with Gavin Gould (F, So.) starting the scoring 1:05 into the first. Jake Lucchini won the faceoff to the right of Nick Kossoff (G, Jr. – LSSU) back to Mitch Reinke (D, So.) at the point. A quick pass along to blue line to Auk for the one-timer rebounded right up the middle to the stick of Gould who put the puck low on the glove side to beat Kossoff. The rest of the first was a back-and-forth affair with each team getting their fair share of rushes up and down the ice. Tech had plenty of good opportunities coming both on the rush and on the forecheck. Packy Munson (G, Jr.) came up big on the faceoff after the first icing of the game around the eleventh minute after a quick shot left a juicy rebound for the Lakers to jump on. Diego Cuglietta (F, Jr. – LSSU) shot the puck to the body of a seated Munson and the Lakers remained scoreless. Tech would finish off the first with another goal, this time on the power play after a holding call on Aiden Wright (D, Sr. – LSSU). Jake Jackson (F, Jr.) took a pass from Keegan Ford (D, So.), split the Laker defense and pushed the puck low past Kossoff at 19:16. Shots for the period were 13-10 in favor of the Huskies.
The Lakers would come out in the second with decent pressure to start the period but would have nothing to show for it. Jackson nearly had his second goal of the game as he was able to drive the net behind the Laker defense around the seventh minute, but was denied. A long stretch pass from the Lake State zone lead to a Laker breakaway, but a diving Munson poke check cleared the puck. A hook on the blue line at 12:09 by Anthony Nellis (F, Jr. – LSSU) gave Tech their second PP of the night, but the Huskies were unable to convert. The Lakers got on the board on the power play following a boarding call on Alex Smith at 16:23. A cross-ice pass from Brayden Gelsinger (F, So. – LSSU) to J.T. Heinke (F, Sr. – LSSU) would lead to a rebound in the slot for Nellis to easily put into the net to bring the game within one for Lake State. Tech lead the shots in the period once again, with twelve compared to the Lakers’ six.
The third period would see the least number of shots on goal for either team, but saw more goals than the other two combined. The Lakers scored first after a turnover in the defensive zone. Heinke’s shot once again left a rebound in front of Munson that Nellis would put in to tie the game. Tech responded with two quick goals in the middle of the period to once again bring the lead to two. The first was all Gould once again, as he picked up the puck out of a scrum on the boards, went across ice on the top of the zone to the opposite circle and sniped the top of the net at 10:48. Under a minute later, Reinke carried the puck into the zone and saucered the puck past two Lakers to Greyson Reitmeier banked the puck off of Kossoff for his first goal as a Husky. The final goal of the night came on the power play for the Lakers, as Gelsinger’s shot from the faceoff circle would bounce off of Munson’s chest and then into Dane Birks (D, Jr.) before finding the net. Shots in the third would be five for Tech and eight for LSSU leading to a game total of 30-24 for the Huskies
Once again, the L’Esperance-Lucchini-Gould was all over the ice, Gould could have easily had a hat trick with the chances he had. The defensemen once again proved they can step up in the offense zone with the Ford and Reinke assists. With the exception of the fluke 3rd goal, the Laker goals were the result of rebound right in front of Munson. Control of those will be something Munson is sure to want to improve upon in the second game. The penalty kill will need to be tightened up a bit, thirty-three percent is not a stat Coach Shawhan will like to see.
While Friday night’s game was a mostly even back and forth affair, Saturday would prove to be a little more lopsided in play with a large amount of special teams play later in the game. Tech dominated the play in the first, continuously testing Laker goalie Mareks Mittens (G, Fr. – LSSU), but it was the Lakers that got on the board first with a great faceoff effort by J.T. Heinke following an MTU icing. Heinke won the draw and skated past the tech centerman for an open shot on Munson, who failed to cover the puck. Heinke’s second effort went in between the left pad and the goal post to put the Lakers on top for the first time on the weekend at 8:30. Tech answered on the power play at 15:57 after a Gage Torrel (F, Jr. – LSSU) cross-checking call. A long pass from the defense found Joel L’Esperance (F, Sr.) at the Laker blueline and—after a slick drag to beat the defensemen near the faceoff dot—he buried it high to tie the game up. The Huskies weren’t done scoring in the first, however, and at 17:32 Alex Gillies (F, Sr.) gave the Huskies their first lead of the night. Another Reinke zone entry and shot left a rebound to the right of Mittens that found the stick of Gillies who made a nice move to the backhand while falling to slide the puck past the left blocker of Mittens. Tech ended the period with a commanding shot lead, 17-4.
The second was a mostly uneventful period with the only scoresheet action coming from a few penalities. Coincidental minors to Lukas Kaelble (D, Fr. – LSSU) and Thomas Beretta (F, So.) for roughing after the whistle at 8:25. A boarding call on Josh Nenadal (F, Jr. – LSSU) at 16:10 brought the period’s only power play, but Tech failed to convert. Shots were still in Tech’s favor at 9-5.
Special teams play made up quite a bit of the third. Gelsinger went off for checking from behind at 2:34, but another holding call on Reinke at 3:43 cut the power play short. A hook from Gould during the four-on-four at 4:00 gave the Lakers a short five-on-three opportunity, but the Tech penalty kill was up to the task. The Lakers got a second five-on-three opportunity later in the period following a Mitch Meek (D, Fr.) cross-check at 12:35 and a Birks checking from behind at 13:53, but again the Huskies kept the Lakers out of the net. The game was tied at 8:44 as Heinke picked up the puck at the Laker blueline and took it up ice before a nice drop pass to Nellis at top of the left circle. Nellis’s first effort was blocked by Seamus Donohue (D, Fr.), but fell right back to Nellis for the second effort which he beat Munson stick side for the final goal of the night. The Lakers would end the period with a slight shot advantage with thirteen to the Huskies’ ten.
The two-two scoreline would mean the first overtime game of the year. The Huskies had ample opportunities in the first overtime period but once again couldn’t solve Mittens during the five-on-five play. In the three-on-three overtime, Tech once again had plenty of chances to score, including a four-on-three power play for the final 1:58. Tech nearly scored with 0:54 left on the clock but Collin Saccoman (D, So. – LSSU) dove on the puck as it trickled through the crease, leading to a penalty shot. Mark Auk’s (D, Sr.) attempt was stopped by Mittens and the second overtime ended, sending the game to a shootout to decide who would take home the extra point. After three skaters for each team failed to score, Jake Lucchini (F, Jr.) beat Mittens to put Tech ahead in the shootout and Muson stopped Max Humitz (F, So. – LSSU) to give the Huskies the shootout win.
While not the three points the Huskies would have liked, getting five out of six points on the road isn’t something to complain much about. Tech dominated even-strength play and the penalty kill made up for Friday night shutting down the Lakers at every opportunity including two five on three chances. Mittens definitely earned the Lakers the point here.
Weekend Three Stars
- Gavin Gould – Always seems to be in the right place at the right time and if he can continue to convert the chances should have a fantastic year. Three goals on the weekend earns him the first star.
- Mitch Reinke – Zone entries are refreshing to see, lead to goals both nights, and the saucer pass for the third goal on Friday was a beauty.
- Jake Jackson – Speed lead to two quality chances Friday, with one being converted to a goal, and there is nothing better than seeing a skater alone behind the defense. His shootout goal earned the 2nd point in the Satuday game.
Play of the Weekend
Play of the game goes to Gavin Gould’s second goal on Friday night, with Alex Gilliess goal on Saturday a close second. Gould’s is a great individual effort and a fantastic snipe to finish, and the Gillies goal shows some great stick handling while going to the ice to beat the goalie.
Around the WCHA
Alaska @ St. Cloud State (6)
Two heart breakers for the Nanooks giving up leads both nights to lose 6-3 Friday and 5-4 in overtime on Saturday.
Northern Michigan @ Ferris State
The only other WCHA conference series saw the Wildcats Sweep in Big Rapids. 3-2 Friday and 1-0 on Saturday.
Bemidji State home and home with Minnesota-Duluth (5)
The Beavers bring home the Babe the Blue Ox trophy after winning 5-2 at home and a scoreless tie in Duluth.
Bowling Green home and home with Michigan State
The Falcons split with the Spartans with each team winning at home, 4-1 in Bowling Green and 3-2 in East Lansing
Mankato State @ Boston University (2)
Huge result here for the WCHA as the Mavericks went into Boston and left with two convincing wins. 5-2 and 3-0