Special teams and goaltending made the difference this weekend as Michigan Tech swept the Bulldogs with a pair of 3-2 wins. It took an extra 3 minutes for MTU to get the win on Friday, and on Saturday, it was done in regulation. Tech carries the momentum of this sweep into a winter carnival weekend series against Mankato State. Tech improved there 8th ranked power play by going 3 for 7 on the weekend, while there penalty killing proved to be too much for UMD who was 0-10.
Friday Tech started the scoring with two goals in the first, one from Mike Batovanja and the other from John Hartman, both were the players first goal of the season. UMD answered and the period ended 2-1. Colin Murphy and Taggart Desmet got the assists on the Batonvanja goal and John Scott and Jimmy Kerr assisted on the Hartman goal.
The second saw both teams with chances, UMD with the better of the two but neither team could get it past the goalie. The best chance for the Huskies came when Chris Conner fed a nice pass across ice to Desmet, but it jumped over his stick.
In the third fans were treated to a fast paced game, UMD with the majority of chances. UMD tied it up in the second half of the period and had the momentum. Tech took a bench minor late in the third but was able to kill it and take the game into overtime.
In overtime, UMD domintated the first minute, but it was the play of Conner to give Tech the win. While playing 4 on 4, Conner brought the puck in and tried to feed a pass to Lars Helminen but missed, Conner got the puck back, found Murphy who gave it back to Conner for the easy put in. Cam Ellsworth ended the night with 49 saves of 51 shots.
After the game Coach Jamie Russell said "Cam (Ellsworth) was outstanding, getting out shot 51 to 20 and getting the win, unbelievable."
Saturday night saw similar action and a similar result. Tech took a two goal lead in the first, just like Friday, but this time they both came on the power play, and both by Brandon Schwartz (assisting were Lars Helminen and Colin Murphy, and Helminen and Nick Anderson). The first was in the 3rd minute of the game, and the other came in the second half. Tech was 2 for 2 on the power play in the period.
UMD got a goal in the second from Tim Stapleton, but MTU had an answer when Nick Anderson put home a rebound of a Tyler Shelast shot, Shelast had the only assist on the play.
The only scoring in the third came from UMD when Marco Peluso scored in the 12th minute. MTU changed there lines around and played the last 8 minutes defensively. It all worked out as MTU withstood all the offensive pressure of UMD and came away with a 3-2 win. With the win, Tech moved up and out of the cellar to 9th place in the WCHA.
It was another weekend of outstanding goaltending by Cam Ellsworth. He was the 1st star both nights and the MTU player of the game. He face 93 shots, stopping 89 on the weekend.
MTU will come home for a special event, Winter Carnival. The Huskies will host Mankato State and will look to continue the winning ways from the weekend. Stay tuned to the web site this week as I am hoping to have an interview with the player of the weekend, Cam Ellsworth this week.