HOUGHTON, MICH. - After their loss on Friday night, the No. 1 Gophers needed a better all-around effort Saturday night against Michigan Tech. And they got it.
The 3-2 victory at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena gave Gophers coach Don Lucia his 600th career victory.
Two goals from winger Seth Ambroz, including one with 3:35 left in regulation, spoiled a great effort from Huskies' goaltender Pheonix Copley and sealed a split for the Gophers.
"He's somebody we talked about today that we had to play better," Lucia said about Ambroz. "He didn't have a good game yesterday, and he knew it. He's one of those other sophomores that we felt has to have a big year for us. He had a couple of timely goals for us tonight."
Ambroz scored what would stand as the game-winning tally when winger Nate Condon's shot bounced out to center Travis Boyd. He directed the puck to Ambroz, who fired a shot that just went got over Copley's glove.
"I got the puck on my stick, and my head was absolutely buried," said Ambroz. "I just kind of shot with hopes and dreams there."
The Gophers (3-1-0 overall, 1-1-0 WCHA), jumped on the Huskies early as winger Kyle Rau got the game's first shot just 30 seconds in from below the dots to Copley's left. The Tech goalie was ready for the shot, making the save look routine.
The first good Huskies' chance came off the stick of C.J. Eick, who took a pass and skated in alone on the Gophers' Adam Wilcox. But Wilcox, who finished the night with 16 saves, stopped the shot.
"Adam did a great job," said Lucia. "He made some big saves when we need him to. Both goalies played extremely well."
The Gophers had a golden opportunity to take the game's first lead late in the first period when Huskies' winger Milos Gordic took a penalty for boarding. The U failed to score on the advantage but struck shortly after.
Defenseman Ben Marshall fired a shot that Copley saved. The rebound kicked out and off Rau in front of the net to a waiting Ambroz. The winger made a quick move to his backhand and beat Copley along the ice at 17:45.
The Gophers started the second period in a similar fashion as captain Zach Budish intercepted a clearing pass and fed center Erik Haula in the high slot. Haula's backhand shot was stopped by Copley.
A little over a minute later, the Gophers had two more good chances as winger Nate Condon and Ambroz each had the puck in close to the Huskies' goal. Copley again thwarted the Gophers' advances.
The Huskies (2-2-0, 1-1-0) evened the score 1-1, 6:18 into the middle frame, on a goal by Chad Pietila.
The game became a chess match until Gophers' defenseman Mike Reilly caught Huskies' defender Steven Seigo pinching. Reilly found Haula behind Seigo, who cut to the net and beat Copley along the ice to the far side at 11:34.
Tech again tied the score late in the second when the puck hit Wilcox, kicked out to a Huskies' forward, hit him, popped up in the air and off U winger Nick Bjugstad into the back of the net at 19:03.
Wilcox came up with one more key save with 2 1/2 minutes remaining to preserve the victory.