Notre Dame ends Huskies’ upset bid in overtime

Joel L’Esperance scores a goal against Notre Dame.

Joel L’Esperance scores a goal against Notre Dame.

The Michigan Tech Huskies (22-17-15) made it back to their second consecutive NCAA tournament. They took on the second-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (27-9-2) in Bridgeport, Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Huskies tied up the game with just over a minute left to send it into overtime. Despite the Huskies’ persistence, the Irish netted the goal to advance to the second round of the NCAA’s by a score of 4-3, to end the Huskies outstanding season.

On Friday, March 23, Junior Patrick (Packy) Munson got the start in net for Tech as he looked to continue his hot streak since taking over for senior Devin Kero a few weekends back. No action happened in the first period, as both teams were tied 0-0 after one.

Senior Joel L’Esperance did not want his season to end as he nailed the first goal of the game just a minute and 13 seconds into the second period, assisted by freshman Seamus Donohue and junior Jake Lucchini. However, the Irish tied up the game just two and a half minutes later. Then, at the 7:04 mark the Irish slipped the puck past Packy for their first lead of the game. The Huskies ‘only opportunity on the man advantage came a minute after Notre Dame’s second goal, however, Tech couldn’t capitalize, and ended the second in favor of the Irish 2-1.

Sophomore Gavin Gould got in on the scoring, as he netted the Huskies’ second goal just 56 seconds into the third period to tie the game up at two each, assisted by Lucchini and Donohue. Sophomore Mitch Reinke received a penalty at the 5:16 mark for cross-checking, and the Irish capitalized on the man advantage just over a minute later to retake the lead 3-2. Tech pulled Munson from net to send out an extra attacker with a minute and 15 seconds left. Ten seconds later junior Jake Jackson netted the game-tying goal to send it into overtime tied 3-3, assisted by seniors Dylan Steman and Brent Baltus.

No penalties were called during overtime. The Huskies looked very good, pressuring the Irish heavily, but the Irish got the goal with four and a half minutes remaining in overtime.

Tech outshot the Irish 39-32, while Packy stopped 28 shots. Tech went 0-1 on the power play, while spending four minutes in the penalty box from two penalties.
The Huskies will say goodbye to seniors Dane Birks, Dylan Steman, Alex Gillies, Joel L’Esperance, Mark Auk, Mason Blacklock, Evan Anderson, Brent Baltus, and Devin Kero, and thank them for all the hard work in making Tech hockey as successful as it could be, and wish them the best of luck in their futures.

The Huskies will welcome in another fantastic freshman class consisting so far of Jagger Williamson (Lumby, British Columbia), TJ Polglaze (Beloit, WI), Alec Broetzman (Hudson, WI), Andrew Bellant (Linden, MI), Tommy Parrottino (Rochester Hills, MI), Trenton Bliss (Dallas, TX), Colin Swoyer (Hinsdale, IL), Tyrell Buckley (Penticton, British Columbia), and Carver Watson (Appleton, WI).