OMAHA, Neb. — Michigan Tech cut a two-goal deficit in half three different times but couldn't complete the comeback in a 4-3 loss at No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha tonight at CenturyLink Center. Tanner Kero scored with 4:01 remaining, and the Huskies had 28 seconds of power play with an extra attacker on the ice before the game ended.
The Mavericks had the upper hand in the first few minutes and scored 4:32 into action on a 4-on-2 rush.
Just 90 seconds later, Tech appeared to have tied the game when Mikael Lickteig batted the puck out of the air past John Faulkner. The goal was reviewed and waved off after officials determined it was hit with a high stick.
The hosts made it a 2-0 lead at the 13:43 mark as national scoring leader Ryan Walters picked the corner on a 3-on-1.
Tech responded late in the opening frame after a David Johnstone was the beneficiary of a kind bounce. Alex Petan fired a shot from the right faceoff dot that deflected off a defenseman in front to Johnstone on the weak side. Jujhar Khaira also drew an assist on the play.
The Huskies dictated play early in the second, but didn't convert several grade A chances. UNO extended the margin back to two after a turnover in Tech's defensive zone led to a Andrej Sustr goal.
The Black and Gold opened the third period by pulling back within 3-2. Petan poked home a loose puck in the crease after Johnstone had skated in and fired a close-range shot on Faulkner.
UNO was awarded its third power play of the game midway through the third and finally converted as Dominic Zombo flipped home a rebound.
Tech went back on the penalty kill with 6:43 to play, but ended up with a power play of its own one minute later as the Mavericks took a penalty.
Kero made the man advantage count by walking in and sniping a shot from the left circle with 4:01 left.
Tech put the extra attacker on the ice with a minute left and UNO was called for too many men with 28 ticks remaining. The Huskies held possession, but couldn't get the equalizer.
"We did not get off to a good start," said head coach Mel Pearson. "They play with pace, they're strong and talented. We just weren't ready for that coming off the bye. You can't simulate it.
"I though we answered the bell and fought to the end."
Tech outshot the Mavericks 29-28 in the contest including a 15-9 margin in the third period.
Pheonix Copley made 24 saves for Tech while Faulkner finished with 26.
The teams will finish off a two-game set and four-game season series tomorrow night at 8:07 p.m. (ET).