The Michigan Tech hockey Huskies swept the NMU Wildcats over the weekend after Tech had themselves been swept by Alaska in their previous series.
ABC 10 sports director Jerry Taylor has a look back at the weekend series between Tech and Northern.
Hancock native Tanner Kero had the game-winning goal on Saturday night as Michigan Tech defeated Northern Michigan, 3-2. With the win, the Huskies completed a weekend sweep of their arch-rival, picking up two wins and, more importantly, four points in the ever-so-tight Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
“We knew coming in we had to make an impression going into the playoffs and still fight for that home ice, so I think that gutsy effort tonight was huge,” said Kero about his team’s performance after the game.
“The points are tight in the standings,” said Michigan Tech senior defenseman Brad Stebner. “To get four points, we were really happy about it.”
“The points are huge,” said Huskies head coach Mel Pearson. “Anytime you can pick up points in the standings, it’s very, very important.”
Northern Michigan must quickly put this weekend series behind them. The Wildcats have four games remaining on their schedule, and they currently sit one point behind Bemidji State for the final playoff spot in the WCHA. For the ‘Cats, these next four regular-season games will be treated as postseason contests.
“It is playoff mode. You have to win games right now and that’s how it is,” said Wildcats head coach Walt Kyle after his team’s 3–2 loss to the Huskies on Saturday. “You control your effort. You control your quality of play. You control your discipline. You don’t always control your outcome.”
“Every game from now on is like a playoff game,” said Wildcats senior defenseman Wade Epp. “We need to win the next four games, and that starts next Friday.”
Northern Michigan outshot Michigan Tech 39 to 21 on Saturday but Huskies goaltender Phoenix Copley was up to the challenge, stopping 37 NMU shots. “He’s had some real good games, but I think this was his best game this year,” said Pearson about Copley. “We went with the right guy tonight.”
Michigan Tech won three of its four games against Northern Michigan this season. The Huskies currently sit in third place in the conference standings with 28 points. Michigan Tech has this coming weekend off and will wrap up the regular season on March 7th and 8th at Minnesota State.
Northern Michigan is in action this weekend with two games at home against Bowling Green, followed by a road trip to Alabama-Huntsville to end the regular season.