Four Goal First Period Propels Denver To Final Four
Tech Drops First NCAA Appearance Since 2015 in 5-2 Loss
The Huskies met the end of their season Saturday against the #1 overall seed Denver Pioneers. The Pioneers scored four unanswered first period goals leaving the Huskies with an unenviable challenge. The Pioneers added another goal early in the second to seemingly seal Tech's fate. Whether the Huskies had nerves coming into the NCAA tourney, or were simply outplayed by the top seed of the tourney, MTU felt the pressure of the NCAA tourney right from the start of the game.
Penalty Kill Gives Up First Two
While the Huskies ended the season with a respectable PK of 86.1% (186-for-216, 7th nationally), the PK Saturday afternoon was tested four times and broke twice. These two failed kills put Tech in a 2-0 hole in the opening period. During the first PK of the night, with 0:05 remaining in the penalty, Colin Staub (So., F - DU) was able to tip a Adam Plant (Jr., D - DU) wristshot from the top of the point passed Redmond (Fr., G) to draw first blood. Staub and Evan Janssen (Sr., F - DU) were both screening Redmond who likely didn't even see the shot.
The second goal of the night came off the stick of Staub again, on a Too Many Men on the Ice bench minor against the Huskies.
Tech Comes out Stronger in 2nd, 3rd
After being outshot 17-5 in the first period, Tech settled into the game in the second and outscored Denver across the final two periods. The Huskies scored two in the second to break the shutout and cut the lead nearly in half, but were unable to climb out of their hole from the first. The first MTU goal was a power play goal which started from a pretty cross ice pass from Mitch Reinke (Fr., D) to Gavin Gould (Fr., F) who one-timed it into the net. The second was a snipe off the stick of Jake Lucchini (So., F) quickly off an offensive zone faceoff with 0:04.7 remaining in the second.
THG Three Stars of the Game
- Jake Lucchini (1G) For his snipe in the 2nd to cut the DU lead to three. Lucchini's goal was a snipe from the left circle with 0:04.7 remaining in the 2nd period. Lucchini had 3 SOG with an Even +/-.
- Mitch Reinke (1A, 1PPP) For his cross-ice pass to fellow freshman Gavin Gould on the power play which lead to the first Husky goal on the afternoon. Reinke was one of two Huskies with a positive +/- in the game.
- Joel L'Esperance (1A) For his faceoff win with 0:10 left in the second which lead to the Lucchini goal. L'Esperance was one the other MTU skater with a positive +/-.
Honorable Mention: Seniors Cliff Watson (D), Shane Hanna (D), Reid Sturos (F), Mike Neville (F) Tyler Heinonen (F) and Chris Leibinger (F) for their combined 1A, 7 SOG, 8 PIM and -1 +/-.
Early Departures Start
With the end of the season starts the beginning of "early departure watch". On Monday, defenseman Matt Roy (Jr., D) announced he will be forgoing his senior season in favor of signing with the Los Angeles Kings organization. Look for more early departures and seniors continuing their careers in the coming days and weeks.
Good Turn Outs for Michigan Tech Viewing Parties
There were several watch parties around the Midwest. There were 30 in attendance at the Minnetonka, MN viewing party. The Appleton, Wisconsin viewing party boasted 70 in attendance.