HOUGHTON - Everything went wrong for Michigan Tech in the first 10 minutes of Friday night's game against Minnesota Duluth.
The Bulldogs opened up a 4-0 lead. They scored on the first shot of the game. They scored shorthanded after starting goaltender Kevin Genoe whiffed on a clearing attempt. They scored on the first shot against replacement netminder Pheonix Copley.
The host Huskies chipped away to make it 4-3 early in the third period, but penalties doomed Tech's comeback effort. UMD padded its lead with a pair of power play goals and skated away from John MacInnes Student Ice Arena with a 7-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association win.
Daily Mining Gazette/David Archambeau
Michigan Tech sophomore forward Blake Hietala, a Houghton native, works the puck in the corner Friday night against Minnesota Duluth at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Hietala scored his first career goal, but the Huskies lost 7-3 to the Bulldogs.
"It's inexcusable," said Tech captain and senior defenseman Carl Nielsen. "There's no excuse to go out and let up four goals in the first period. We as a team and me as a leader need to find that motivation we had in Bemidji and have a short-term memory on this one and get a split."
UMD's Austin Farley forced a turnover, spun around a Tech defenseman and slipped the puck five-hole - an issue Genoe has worked on with goalie coach Steve Shields - on a partial breakaway just 1:29 into the game. Farley scored his second of the game just three minutes later as Wade Bergman found him open on the back door on a goal Genoe could do nothing to prevent.
He certainly could have prevented the third. Tech had just got its first power play of the game, but Genoe flat out missed the puck on a clearing attempt. Adam Krause buried the puck into the empty net as Genoe threw his stick back toward the puck, adding an interference minor to his third goal against and bringing an end to his night.
Minnesota Duluth 4 0 3 - 7
Michigan Tech 1 1 1 - 3
First period - 1, UMD, Austin Farley (Caleb Herbert, Justin Crandall), 1:29; 2, UMD, Farley (Wade Bergman, Derik Johnson), 4:36; 3, UMD, Adam Krause (unassisted), 9:08 SH; 4, UMD, Mike Seidel (Drew Olson, Tony Cameranesi), 9:52; 5, MTU, Tanner Kero 3 (Steven Seigo, David Johnstone), 18:07. Penalties - UMD, Herbert (cross checking), 8:55; MTU, Kevin Genoe (interference), 9:08; MTU, TEAM (too many men), 14:21; MTU, Blake Pietila (roughing), 17:46; UMD, Johnson (high sticking), 17:46.
Second period - 6, MTU, Blake Hietala (Jacob Johnstone, Jimmy Davis), 13:13. Penalties - MTU, Jujhar Khaira (elbowing), 0:14; UMD, Krause (tripping), 3:16; UMD, Cody Danberg (tripping), 16:05; MTU, Khaira (roughing), 19:57.
Third period - 7, MTU, David Johnstone 2 (Kero, Ryan Furne), 4:21; 8, UMD, Herbert (Seidel, Cameranesi), 11:04 PP; 9, Joe Basaraba (Crandall, Olson), 12:55 PP; 10, UMD, Crandall (Farley, Herbert), 14:15. Penalties - MTU, Chad Pietila (cross checking), 5:06; UMD, Keegan Flaherty (tripping), 8:07; MTU, Milos Gordic (slashing), 9:33; MTU, Khaira (contact to the head high sticking), 11:35; UMD, Matt McNeely (roughing), 16:46.
Goalies - UMD, Matt McNeely (30 shots, 27 saves); MTU, Kevin Genoe (11 shots, 8 saves), Pheonix Copley (24 shots, 20 saves).
"The third goal was just a backbreaker, shorthanded goal, goalie turns it over," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "Steve Shields said (Genoe) almost gets too amped up to play at home. He gets too excited, too high. ... It's been a battle from day one with the goalies and we're just hoping someone will emerge."
Copley didn't start too hot either, surrendering a Mike Seidel goal on the first shot he faced just 44 seconds after UMD's third goal. It was a beautiful top right corner snipe, though, and the freshman settled in to make some spectacular saves to anchor Tech's comeback.
Hancock native Tanner Kero started things off with his third goal of the season two minutes before intermission and then Houghton native Blake Hietala scored his first career goal midway through the second period to make it 4-2 as Tech swung momentum in its favor.
"That's something I've been dreaming about for a long time growing up here, but it would have been nice to get the W," Hietala said.
But it looked like Tech was working toward a miraculous come-from-behind win early in the third period when David Johnstone used a Ryan Furne screen to get to the crease on a wrap-around attempt before burying the rebound.
"I liked our resiliency and hanging in there and battling back and making a game of it," Pearson said. "It looked like last year in Duluth, they scored often in the first period, we chipped away and it's 4-3. We had a couple glorious chances in the third period there."
Tech trailed 4-0 after 20 minutes on Jan. 27 in Duluth before stealing a point with a 4-4 tie, but penalties quickly nullified the Huskies' momentum.
Caleb Herbert scored his first goal of the year for UMD - after scoring 14 last year as a freshman - to make it 5-3, a power play goal after Milos Gordic went off for slashing.
"That was a huge goal. That gave them that two-goal cushion and we took another penalty shortly after and gave up another power play goal," Pearson said, referring to Joe Basaraba's tally less than two minutes later to make it 6-3. "They have some skill players and if we give them too many chances they're going to burn you and they did. ... You're not going to win many games when you give up seven goals."
Justin Crandall wrapped up the scoring with 5:45 left in the game, and many of the 2,859 fans headed for the exits.
"Sometimes when you score four goals your players think it's going to be an easy night. Against any team I don't feel safe until the final buzzer," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "It's a good win for our team because they tightened it up and made it a one-goal game and we found a way to win."
Tech (4-7-0, 3-6-0 WCHA) and UMD (4-7-2, 2-5-2) will wrap up their weekend series tonight at 7:07.