The Chargers have made big strides this season. However, against the top teams in the WCHA, which are also some of the top teams in the nation, they can’t afford any mistakes and expect to win. It took a span of five minutes for that reminder to hit hard.
Michigan Tech scored three goals in four minutes and 13 seconds of the second period, and that’s all the eighth-ranked Huskies needed in a 5-0 win over UAH on Friday night in Houghton, Michigan.
The Chargers (7-17-3 overall, 6-13-0 WCHA) fell to 0-7 on the season against the top three teams in the WCHA: Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, and Bowling Green. Tech (19-7-1 overall, 14-4-1 WCHA) was four points behind Minnesota State atop the WCHA standings coming into the night.
UAH was shut out for the third straight road game — a program first. The Chargers have been shut out six times this season and 40 times over the last five years.
UAH hung tough in the first period, although Michigan Tech won the puck possession battle. The Huskies outshot the Chargers 14-8, but a chunk of that advantage came on the lone MTU power play following a Richard Buri holding call. The Huskies thoroughly controlled the puck at the UAH end and got four shots on goal, but all were seen well and stopped by Carmine Guerriero.
Guerriero saw the puck well the whole period, making many glove stops as the teams were scoreless after one.
But things fell apart early in the second, and the Huskies took firm control of the game after the first six minutes.
First, Richard Buri is called for interference at 41 seconds. Alex Petan puts in a rebound on the power play just 27 seconds later. Michigan Tech leads 1-0.
Second, UAH is called for too many men on the ice at 2:02. Blake Pietila scores just 30 seconds later. Michgan Tech leads 2-0. Two straight power play goals after the Chargers had run a streak of 15 straight penalties killed.
Third, three minutes later, Malcolm Gould puts in another rebound. Michigan Tech leads 3-0.
The Huskies got the first 12 shots on goal in the second period. Somehow UAH would get eight of the next nine shots on goal on a couple of power play opportunities of their own, but the Chargers could not find the net and found themselves deep in a whole after two periods.
Joel L’Esperance added two third-period goals for the final tally as UAH could not mount a comeback. Michigan Tech finished with 37 shots on goal to UAH’s 20.
Guerriero allowed all five goals, tying a season high. He made 32 saves.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.