HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech hockey team opened Winter Carnival with a 4-2 loss to Bemidji State Friday (Feb. 9) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Huskies took an early lead only 53 seconds into the game but surrendered three straight tallies by the Beavers.
"With our season being on the line and a chance to have home ice in the playoffs, I thought we gave a terrible effort," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "It's my job to have the team ready and that's on me. I'm disappointed."
Jake Lucchini ripped a wrist shot past Michael Bitzer for his team-leading 11th of the season under a minute after puck drop. Joel L'Esperance had the feed up to Lucchini and Gavin Gould added the secondary assist.
Bemidji State (15-10-6, 12-7-4-2 WCHA) answered 10:00 later to even it up with a goal by Jordan Heller—the first of two on the night. Ethan Somoza and Mike Soucier assisted.
TJ Roo gave the Beavers their first lead 10:44 into the second, as he fired a shot under Robbie Beydoun from the faceoff dot. Jay Dickman and Justin Baudry had the assists.
Ethan Somoza made it a 3-1 BSU lead 1:21 later with a long shot through traffic from Dan Billett and Jordan Heller.
Tech's (14-13-5, 10-10-5-2 WCHA) Dylan Steman got the Huskies back in the game with a long wrist shot over the glove of Bitzer with 4:14 left in the second. He picked the puck up off the blue line after a drop pass by Jake Jackson and took one stride before potting his ninth of the season. Seamus Donohue added the secondary assist.
The Beavers got their two-goal lead back 2:17 into the third as Heller found the back of the net for the second time after the Huskies failed to clear the zone. Heller's unassisted goal was his fifth of the season.
Bemidji State outshot Tech 38-25. Beydoun finished with 34 saves for the Huskies.
Bitzer came up with big saves all game long. He stopped Steman on a partial breakaway in the first and Lucchini on a similar play in the third. L'Esperance and Lucchini went in on a 2-on-1 late in the opening frame but the 2017 WCHA Player of the Year was there for another one of his 23 saves.
Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play. Tech killed off a 5:00 major in the first and 1:52 of 5-on-3 in the second. Only seven total penalties were called with zero calls in the third period.
"We have to find the way to get the absolute most dedicated effort out of our hockey team," added Shawhan. "It's in that locker room. We've shown in many games this year that we are more than capable of being a quality team."
Michigan Tech team physician Dr. Bruce Trusock dropped the game puck. He was recently awarded a Michigan Tech Board of Trustees Silver Medal for his 36 years of service to the Huskies.
The two teams will wrap-up the WCHA and Winter Carnival series on Saturday night with an early 5:07 p.m. puck drop. The total goal winner of the series will receive the MacInnes Cup.