Minnesota Falls to Michigan Tech in WCHA Opener
Oct. 19, 2012
HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Minnesota men's hockey team suffered its first loss of the year on Friday night - falling 5-3 to Michigan Tech in the first Western Collegiate Hockey Association contest of the season. Nate Schmidt, Nick Bjugstad and Travis Boyd tallied for the Gophers in the loss.
After two impressive first period performances by the Gophers' offense last weekend against Michigan State, Minnesota (2-1-0 overall, 0-1-0 WCHA) suffered a similar fate to that of the Spartans on Friday night. Michigan Tech (2-1-0, 1-0-0) found the net three times in the opening stanza including Alex Petan's second of the year at 3:32 to put Minnesota behind for the first time this season.
The lead wouldn't last long though as Schmidt lit the lamp for the first time this year at 9:13 after being set up by Nate Condon and Boyd. After Schmidt's goal though, the remainder of the first would be all Huskies. Blake Pietila would record a power-play goal at 14:48 of the period for his first of two on Friday night, and Dennis Rix would make it a 3-1 game for Michigan Tech with an additional score 22 seconds later.
Nick Bjugstad would bring the Gophers back within one early in the second period when Ben Marshall found the junior wide open on the doorstep for Bjugstad's third of the year at 2:51 of the second period, but the Gophers wouldn't come any closer in the league opener. Michigan Tech would net another pair of goals, one from both Chad and Blake Pietila to make it a 5-2 game after the second period.
Boyd, who tallied just one goal a year ago, would net his second of the young three-game season late in the game with a power-play goal from Christian Isackson and Condon at 17:50 of the third. Minnesota, which outshot Michigan Tech 31-26, would finish the night 1-for-3 on the power play as would the hosting Huskies.
Michael Shibrowski would suffer the loss for Minnesota with 10 saves and four goals against in just over 26 minutes of work. Adam Wilcox would finish the game for the Gophers allowing one goal with 11 saves. The Gophers' attempt at a late push by pulling Wilcox in favor of the extra attacker with just under two minutes proved unsuccessful as Michigan Tech held on for the win. Pheonix Copley picked up the win for the Huskies, making 28 saves and allowing three goals against.
Minnesota returns to action tomorrow night against the Huskies. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. ET in Houghton.
-Pride on Ice-