Minnesota-Duluth showed no love for Michigan Tech on Valentine’s Day.
The Bulldogs quieted a Winter Carnival crowd of 3,010 with a 5-1 victory Friday night at MacInnes Arena.
“It was disgusting,” Tech captain Brett Engelhardt said. “There’s no excuse for an effort like that.”
The Huskies (9-16-4, 6-12-3 WCHA) had momentum coming into the weekend after upsetting third-ranked North Dakota last Saturday.
But all the momentum was gone early Friday.
UMD scored early and then again late in the opening period to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Then, the Bulldogs scored twice in 28 seconds early in the second period to make it 4-0 and all but end any chance Tech had of getting back in the game.
“I’m very disappointed,” Tech coach Mike Sertich said. “The lack of effort really hurts. It’s just one thing after another.”
Marco Peluso scored a goal and added a pair of assists for UMD (14-11-4, 10-8-3). Freshman goaltender Isaac Reichmuth made 23 saves.
“That was a pretty complete game for us,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said.
The Bulldogs scored the game’s first goal when Josh Miskovich came down the slot and tipped T.J. Caig’s centering pass past Cam Ellsworth at the 2:28 mark.
UMD took a 2-0 lead with 42 seconds left in the period when Peluso carried the puck deep into the Tech zone and left a pass for Junior Lessard, who one-timed a shot past a helpless Ellsworth.
With the Bulldogs leading 2-0 early in the second period, Tech had a great chance to cut the lead in half.
As Chris Conner raced to a loose puck in the UMD zone, Reichmuth came way out of the net to try to beat him to it. The puck was deflected toward the left side, where Conner chased it down and fired a shot that sailed just over the gaping net as Reichmuth desperately dived back. The play quickly came back the other way, Caig took a shot, Ellsworth blocked it and Jon Francisco buried the long rebound. It was 3-0.
Just 28 seconds later, Brett Hammond scored to make it 4-0.
“Those two goals were huge,” Sandelin said. “They were probably the turning point.”
If the Huskies did get anything positive out of the game, it came midway through the third period on a highlight-reel goal by Jon Pittis that ended Reichmuth’s shutout bid.
Conner skated up the right side and threw a pass toward the slot. Pittis had been hauled down and was sliding head-first toward the net but somehow managed to direct the puck past Reichmuth with the shaft of his stick flat on the ice.
“I like that kid,” Sandelin said of Pittis. “He’s a smart player.”
The crowd finally had something to cheer about, and one fan celebrated by lobbing an octopus over the glass onto the ice just like Red Wings fans do during playoff games. Zamboni driver Tom Dutcher walked onto the ice and picked it up with his bare hands, much to the crowd’s enjoyment.
But there was little else to enjoy for Tech fans on this night.
“We took ourselves out of the game,” Sertich said. “We didn’t compete for whatever reason.”
UMD held a 27-24 advantage in shots on goal. The Huskies were 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Bulldogs were 0-for-2.
The teams meet again Saturday evening at 5:05 p.m. UMD will try to clinch the MacInnes Cup, which goes to the winner of the two-game, total-goals series.