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Huskies Drop WCHA Opener Friday at Minnesota State

MANKATO, Minn. – The No. 17-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team opened WCHA play with a 3-1 loss at No. 19 Minnesota State on Friday (Oct. 7). All the goals were scored in the first period all being scored on a man advantage.

The two teams each had nine minor penalties called against them.

"We have to learn how to play in these games and stay on the ice," Tech coach Mel Pearson said, referring to the team's penalties. "We're a pretty good team when we get to play 5-on-5 hockey."

Zeb Knutson gave the home team a 1-0 lead 7:35 into the game with a power play goal.

Shane Hanna tied it at one with his first of the season and 14th of his career less than 5:00 later on the power play. Mitch Reinke set him up for a one-timer, picking up his first career collegiate point on the assist. Jake Lucchini added the secondary helper.

MSU (1-0, 1-0 WCHA) took the lead again with a second goal by Knutson as the Mavericks added an extra attacker on a delayed penalty.

The Mavs tacked on a third goal 23 seconds later on the power play off the stick of Daniel Brickley.

The Huskies had their chances with three breakaways. Joel L'Esperance went in on MSU goaltender Cole Huggins 3:00 into the second that was steered away. Tyler Heinonen had his chance gloved down 1:15 later. Jake Jackson also missed in the third.

"Give their goalie credit on those breakaways," added Pearson. "We obviously have to take advantage of scoring chances like that to get wins on the road, but he's a veteran and played well."

Jake Lucchini had a pair of quality chances in the third. The first was a shorthanded rush with Chris Leibinger. A pass from Lucchini out front to Leibinger bounced over his stick.

Lucchini then got a great shot off a big rebound with 2:00 to go that Huggins had to dive across the crease and block.

The Huskies pulled Matt Wintjes late but couldn't find the back of the net.

Both goaltenders had 20 saves each. Tech was 1-for-9 on the man advantage while the Mavs were 2-for-8.

The two teams wrap up the WCHA series from the Verizon Wireless Center at 8:07 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 8).

"We have to have a better start tomorrow," Shane Hanna said. "The start is the key to our game. We have to set the tone early and not get distracted by penalties."