Huskies drop opener to 12th ranked Mavericks

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MANKATO, Mn. The Michigan Tech hockey team fell 4-1 at No. 12 Minnesota State Friday (Jan. 4) at the Verizon Center. Andrew Bellant scored the lone goal for the Huskies and Robbie Beydoun made 30 saves for the third straight game.

"This group struggles against these teams that grind it," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "Mankato has a good team but our guys are frustrated right now.

"The third period was our best period. Obviously, we had the five-minute power play but we made some adjustments and were able to build some confidence."

The Huskies were outshot 12-3 in the opening 20:00 and down 2-0. They got things going a little in the second two periods.

Bellant made it 2-1 with his second of the season 14:33 into the second. Keegan Ford threw the puck at the net from the sidewall, and Bellant corralled the rebound with his skate and whacked it in. It was Ford's seventh assist of the season.

"That line gave us some good shifts with Bellant, Brice, and Misiak," added Shawhan. "They were working hard and competing tonight."

MSU (15-5-1, 10-3-0-0 WCHA) quickly took its two-goal lead back 57 seconds later, when Dallas Gerads streaked in on a breakaway and scored his seventh of the season. Walker Duehr assisted on the play.

The Huskies had their chances in the third period. They started with 65 seconds of power play. Justin Misiak had a pair of chances steered aside early. Jake Lucchini had a rush to the net midway through the third that MSU goaltender Dryden McKay blocked away.

Tech then went on a 5:00 power play after Alec Broetzman was hit into the boards by Andy Carroll. A backhand shot from the slot by Alex Smith and a feed from Lucchini to Dylan Steman out front were the best chances on the man advantage. McKay was there for the save on both shots as he finished the night with 24 saves.

Beydoun kept Tech in it all night. He had 10 saves in the first, seven in the second, and 13 in the third. He stopped nine shots in the first 9:00 of the third period and stoned Jared Jaremko on a shorthanded breakaway with 4:46 left in the game.

Coach Shawhan pulled Beydoun for an extra attacker with 1:12 remaining and the Mavericks scored immediately on a goal by Duehr for the 4-1 final

Both teams were 0-for-5 on the power play after a combined 11 penalties.

The Mavericks opened scoring 59 seconds after puck drop when a shot by Nick Rivera from behind the goal line deflected off of Beydoun's skate into the net.

Carroll made it 2-0 when he finished off a 2-on-1 break with Josh French with 1:34 left in the first period. French carried it on the far side of the ice and was joined on the rush by Carroll stepping out of the penalty box.

Tech is now 10-9-2 overall and 9-3-1-1 in the WCHA and wraps up the series on Saturday (Jan. 5).

"It's not going to get any easier tomorrow night or next weekend against Bowling Green," said Shawhan. "We're playing teams that like to get into it. We're going to have to learn to play like that in a hurry. It's going to get harder before it gets easier, but we have to figure it out."

Puck drop is set for 8:07 p.m. Eastern in the game two of a four-game season series.