The final series of the Alaskan road trip took the Huskies north to Fairbanks to face the University of Alaska Nanooks. The Black and Gold managed to score five goals on the road to victory each night in two very different games. Friday’s contest required overtime to complete the comeback from a three goal deficit while Saturday there was never a doubt due to Patrick Munson’s (G, Jr.) rock solid performance in net.
The Huskies started out with what may be one of the worst periods of the year at the Carlson Center. A hooking call on Raymond Brice (F, So.) gave the Nanooks the man advantage at 2:40 although they failed to convert. The first goal of the game would come from a cross ice pass from Kylar Hope (F, So. – UA) to Colton Leiter (F, So. – UA) who put it past Musnon stick side at 11:20. Keegan Ford (D, So.) gave UA their second power play at 12:58 with a holding call, but once again the penalty kill was up to the task. Chad Staley (F, Jr. – UA) put the Nanooks up by two near the end of the period following a flurry near the Huskies net at 18:16. Alaska dominated the shots 16-7 for the period.
The second period started out looking like a continuation of the first with a quick goal by the home side as Tyler Cline (F, So. – UA) smashed a one-timer past Munson at the 45 second mark. The Huskies began the comeback at 4:16 as Alex Smith (F. So.) scored his second of the season beating Niko DellaMaggiore (G, So.- UA) through the five hole to bring the score to 3-1. The same line struck again at 10:43 as Smith found Brent Baltus (F, Sr.) going forward, Baltus then beat DellaMaggiore on the low angle shot sniping the top corner of the net at 10:43. The Huskies would get their first power play at 13:36 following a Zach Frye (D, Sr. – UA) cross check, but also wouldn’t be able to convert. Tech evened up the score at 17:19 on a delayed penalty call as Mark Auk (D, Sr.) found the back of the net for his third of the year. Shots would end all tied up for the period 15-15.
A quick penalty to Staley at 0:40 gave the Huskies the man advantage and this time they would capitalize on it with Mitch Reinke (D, So.) goal at 1:07 giving them their first lead of the night. It didn’t last long though, with the Nanooks scoring at 4:47 off a deflection by Hope. Each team would have a pair of power play chances in the reminder of the period, but both goalies stood tall to end regulation at four a piece. The Nanooks had the narrow advantage on the shots 9-8.
The overtime period required nearly the entire allotted time period, but Joel L’Esperance (F, Sr.) found a wide-open Jake Lucchini (F, Jr.) in the front of the Nanook’s net all alone at 4:02 of the period to give the Huskies the win. Lucchini had been alone for nearly ten seconds as puck was tied up on the near wall when L’Esperance found him and he beat DellaMaggiore low stick side.
In a game that seemed lost by early in the second period, the Huskies didn’t give up and came away with the win. The penalty kill was solid keeping the Nanooks 0-4 on the night, but another goal on the power play would have been welcome. Tech was outshot 43-31 and beat at the faceoff 37-31, both stats Coach Shawnhan will want to improve on, but a road win is a road win and the Huskies earned it by not giving up and there is something to be said for that.
This time it was Tech that came out strong in the first with another Baltus goal from Smith at 4:47 of the first. Munson made several fantastic saves on the penalty kill as Seamus Donohue (D, Fr.) and Reinke were both penalized at 5:35 and 8:15. Thomas Beretta would get the second of the period at 14:10 following a wonderful pass from Dylan Steman and Dane Birks. The quick shot from Steman left no chance for Anton Martinsson (G, So. – UA). Shots on the period would end in the favor of the home side again at 18-14.
Jake Jackson opened up the scoring at 1:49 as Baltus came down and shot in the same fashion as his Friday goal. The puck trickled by and lay on the goal line for the easy tap in for Jackson. Jackson struck again at 4:50 on the backhand after picking up a rebound from an Alex Smith shot. The goal ended Martinsson’s night with DellaMaggiore returning to the net. The middle of the period was nothing but penalties as Tech took three minors and the Nanooks two to interrupt the flow of the game. Tech scored once more at 16:33 to bring the lead to five as Donohue found himself finally on the good side of the score sheet. Donohue picked up a Gavin Gould (F, So.) rebound and beat the diving DellaMaggiore for his first goal as a Husky. MTU had the shot advantage 12-7.
Tech would two power play chances at 3:59 and 6:42 in the third, but DellaMaggiore wasn’t letting anything else past him for the night. The Nanooks got one back at 12:50 as Justin Woods (D, Sr. – UA) scored with the extra attacker on the delayed penalty. Woods beat Munson from the slot bringing the stuffed animals raining down on the ice for the Annual Teddy Toss. The game ended with a bit of controversy with Mark Auk (D. Sr.) getting hit after losing his balance by Jack Weiss (D, Jr. – UA). Weiss received a five minute major at the 19:59 mark of the game and a one-game supplemental suspension from the league. Alaska once again edged the Huskies on shots 10-8.
Following the poor start yesterday there was no doubt who was in charge of this one. The penalty kill seems to have settled in holding Alaska zero for seven on the weekend. The power play once again struggled going zero for four, but the five on five scoring showed up and showed up big. Tech managed to continue its winning streak in the Carlson Center with the well deserved sweep.
Weekend Three Stars
- Brent Baltus – Couple of goals, almost a third and a couple of assists. Good to see the captain leading by example on the ice.
- Patrick Munson – While Friday may not have been the best performance, he still had 43 saves. Saturday on the other hand was all Munson with 35 saves.
- Jake Jackson – Two goals on the weekend and good to see another line scoring.
Play of the Weekend
Tic-Tac-Toe from Birks to Beretta to Steman. Love the quick passing on the play.
Around the WCHA
Ferris State @ Alabama – Huntsville
The WCHA splits continue with Ferris taking Friday’s contest 6-2 and the Chargers picking up the win Saturday 5-3.
Bowling Green home and home with Miami
More non-conference woes. The Falcons lost at home 6-3 and salvaged a tie at Miami 2-2.
Bemidji State @ Princeton
A rare WCHA-ECAC matchup saw the beavers play a Wednesday – Friday series in New Jersey. Split here as well with BSU winning 5-3 in the first game and falling 4-1 in the second.
Northern Michigan @ Nebraska – Omaha
The Wildcats drop two the other Mavericks. 4-3 Friday and 4-1 Saturday.
US U-18 Team @ Lake Superior State
The Lakers won the exhibition game 6-0.
Minnesota State (8) @ Minnesota Duluth (16)
The Mavericks drop the non-conference game 3-1 in Duluth..
Alaska Anchorage was on a bye week.
Featured image credit Bethlyn Cummings.