HOUGHTON, Mich. – The No. 19-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team lost 2-1 to No. 3 Minnesota Duluth Friday (Oct. 12) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena to open the 2018-19 season. Gavin Gould scored the lone goal for the Huskies.
"Duluth had a really strong start that put us on our heels through the first 10 minutes," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "Our guys stuck with it and gained confidence as the game went on. We had our chances, especially on the special teams.
"They return 18 guys on a team that won a National Championship, so we have to be realistic against an opponent like them. There were a lot of positives. The young guys who played got some quality minutes and did a great job in important situations."
Down 2-0 in the late stages of the game, Jake Lucchini found Gould wide open across the crease as he buried his 27th career goal with 4:22 remaining. Trenton Bliss added the secondary assist for his first collegiate point after his initial shot was saved and rebounded out to Lucchini.
"It was a good hard play off the wall from Bliss and then Lucchini had a great backdoor pass on my tape. I just had to tap it in," Gould said. "It's a good confidence booster to score in the first game."
Tech pulled goaltender Devin Kero with 1:20 remaining but was whistled for a penalty and couldn't muster up any late scoring chances.
The Huskies outshot the Bulldogs 33-27 in the game. Kero finished with 25 saves while UMD goaltender Hunter Shepard had 32.
"Devin was exceptional tonight," added Shawhan. "The two goals were good goals by them. He was as good as he's ever played for us and gave us a great chance tonight."
After a scoreless first period, Kobe Roth gave the visitors the lead 3:09 after intermission with a power play goal from Nick Swaney and Peter Krieger.
Tech had three breakaways in the second period but couldn't capitalize. Dylan Steman's partial breakaway shot was saved by Shepard. Gould tried to slip one five-hole later in the period that was saved. Justin Misiak had a backhanded attempt poked away.
Parker Mackay made it 2-0 Bulldogs 9:05 into the second as he put in a rebound after a steal and shot by Justin Richards.
There were 12 penalties called in the game. The Huskies were 0-for-5 on the power play, including having 53 seconds of 5-on-3 and a 5:00 man advantage after a major penalty was called on UMD. Tech was 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Michigan Tech President Richard Koubek was on hand to drop a ceremonial puck at his first game. He was named Tech's 10th president in July.
ArcelorMittal was the 7th man sponsor for the game, donating 850 T-shirts to Michigan Tech students. It is the fifth season in a row that ArcelorMittal has been a 7th man sponsor. ArcelorMittal employs over 60 Michigan Tech graduates and is the world's leading steel and mining company.
The two teams will wrap-up the nonconference series on Saturday (Oct. 13). Tech will honor its 2018 Sports Hall of Fame Class at the game which includes hockey alumni Steve Coates and Kip Noble. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m.