DULUTH – Michigan Tech first-year head coach Joe Shawhan couldn’t ask for a better start to his tenure in Houghton.
A season-opening loss far in the rearview mirror now, the Huskies gave their new head coach two victories and a tournament title to boot at AMSOIL Arena this weekend.
Michigan Tech overcame a rough start, riding three power play goals and a stellar performance from Patrick Munson to upset No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth 4-3 on Saturday night to win the Ice Breaker championship.
“It was a privilege just to be here and to have some success for our guys is immeasurable early in the year,” Shawhan said. “We’re honored to be here, we’re honored we performed well and and showed well and represented [Michigan Tech] and our community well. There’s a lot of character within our locker room.”
Mark Auk, Raymond Brice and Gavin Gould had the power play tallies for MTU and Justin Misiak added the game-winning goal just over halfway through the second period. Munson made 33 saves for the Huskies.
Fresh off an emotional overtime win over Minnesota, UMD came out strong, scoring 39 seconds in on a Riley Tufte goal and adding another just under eight minutes later when Nick Wolff found paydirt from the slot. After that, however, UMD started unraveling, taking two penalties 28 seconds apart halfway through the period and allowing Michigan Tech to tie it on tallies by Auk and Brice.
Overall, the Bulldogs took eight penalties, including a Dylan Samberg game misconduct for contact to the head with 1:39 remaining in the game. Taking too many penalties won’t win you a lot of games, as UMD head coach Scott Sandelin knows full well.
“We need some work,” he said. “This is early in the year; a lot of things to work on.”
And since it’s early, UMD forward Karson Kuhlman believes his team will be gelling before long.
“I think that just comes with time, getting more comfortable,” Kuhlman said. “Not too worried about that.”
A Wolff hooking penalty early in the second helped set up the goal by Gould, giving the Huskies their first lead. UMD quickly responded when Scott Perunovich snuck in a shot from the right circle through Munson’s five-hole, but Misiak wouldn’t allow the game to remain tied, scoring the eventual winner just 1:45 later.
Nick Deery made his first start of the season for the Bulldogs and had just 13 saves in the game on 17 shots.
“He needs to do better. I’m not gonna pin anything [on him or the defense],” Sandelin said. “As the game went on, he battled.”
The penalties that his teammates took certainly didn’t help his cause, but he did manage to hold MTU off the scoreboard for the second half of the game.
UMD goal at :39: Riley Tufte (2). Assisted by Nick Swaney (2) and Justin Richards (1).
UMD goal at 8:32: Nick Wolff (1). Assisted by Jade Miller (1) and Billy Exell (1).
MTU power play goal at 11:47: Mark Auk (2). Assisted by Mitch Reinke (1) and Jake Lucchini (2).
MTU PP goal at 12:49: Raymond Brice (1). Unassisted.
MTU PP goal at 6:58: Gavin Gould (1). Assisted by Jake Lucchini (3) and Reinke (2).
UMD PP goal at 8:29: Scott Perunovich (1). Assisted by Peter Krieger (2) and Jarod Hilderman (2).
MTU goal at 10:14: Justin Misiak (1). Assisted by Alex Smith (1) and Keegan Ford (1).
Power plays: MTU 3-7, UMD 1-4.
Shots on goal: MTU 17, UMD 36.
Forwards: Union’s Anthony Rinaldi, Michigan Tech’s Joel L’Esperance, Minnesota-Duluth’s Riley Tufte.
Defensemen: Michigan Tech’s Mark Auk, Minnesota-Duluth’s Scott Perunovich.
Goaltender: Minnesota’s Eric Schierhorn.
Most Valuable Player: Michigan Tech’s Mark Auk.