SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Michigan Tech hockey team fell 3-1 at No. 12 Notre Dame on Friday. Joel L'Esperance tied the game early in the third before the home team scored two goals later in the frame. Tech is now 12-9-3 overall and wraps up nonconference play Saturday against the Fighting Irish.
"We're in these games so we just can't get frustrated," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "We have to maintain the positive energy around our team and continue to work hard and work through this. We have a good hockey team and we're playing some tough teams."
The Huskies trailed 1-0 entering the third period and began it on the power play after the Fighting Irish were whistled for a penalty with 22 seconds left in the second.
Jake Lucchini won the period's opening faceoff and the Huskies worked the puck into the UND zone. Lucchini dug it out of the corner and fed it out to the blueline to Shane Hanna. Matt Roy received a cross-ice pass from Hanna and took a long wrist shot. Irish goaltender Cal Petersen made the initial save, but the puck rebounded out to L'Esperance who cleaned up the play for his seventh of the season and fourth on the power play only 17 ticks into the third.
"The goal was scored on a simple play," added Pearson. "We have to continue to simplify our game right now and get people to the dirty areas around the net to get our offense going."
UND (12-6-2) regained the lead 7:11 later as Jack Jenkins finished off a 2-on-1 rush with a shot that squirted through Tech goaltender Angus Redmond.
Cliff Watson had a chance at tying the game up after Lucchini fed him streaking to the net, but the shot was deflected away and L'Esperance was too deep behind the net to get a quality shot off on the rebound.
The home team then made it 3-1 with 6:36 remaining after a bad bounce off the glass behind Redmond kicked the puck out front. Joe Wegwerth capitalized to score the game's final goal.
Tech had chances to cut into the lead in the late stages of the game. Alex Smith redirected a shot by Watson with under 2:00 left. Gavin Gould then found himself alone in front of Petersen after he stole the puck, but the UND netminder was there for the save on the quick shot.
UND's first goal came on a long shot through traffic 5:00 into the second period moments after Tech came off a 5-on-3 penalty kill. Jake Evans was credited with the goal.
Redmond finished the night with 23 saves, including 10 in the third period. He had a few dazzling saves. One immediately after the Huskies' goal and again later in the third with two saves before getting some help from Roy to keep the puck out of the net.
Tech outshot UND 28-26 and has outshot opponents in 14 of the last 15 games. Hanna led with five shots on goal while L'Esperance was credited with four.
The penalty kill continued to shine, going 6-for-6 to extend its streak to 43 straight. UND even had a pair of 5-on-3 chances, including 76 seconds worth early in the second period.
The series finale stats at 7:05 p.m. Saturday from the Compton Family Ice Arena. Fans across the country can watch the game live on the NBC Sports Network. Canadian fans can watch on TSN Go. Mix 93.5 FM WKMJ will also broadcast the game on the radio in the Copper Country and online at Pasty.com.