Tech hockey sweeps rival NMU

Tech hockey sweeps rival NMU

Press Release Courtesy of MTU Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Pheonix Copley stopped 37 shots, and Tanner Kero scored the game-winning goal in the third period to give Michigan Tech a 3-2 victory at Northern Michigan tonight and the home-and-home series sweep of the Wildcats.

The Huskies killed off 1:35 of 4-on-3 power play and another :25 of 5-on-3 for NMU in a frenetic final four minutes to hang on for the victory.

“It wasn’t our best game tonight, and a large part of that was Northern,” said coach Mel Pearson. “They came out with a lot of urgency. It was a great, gutsy effort by our guys.”

Tanner Kero broke up a 2-all tie 4:49 into the third period on a tip-in of an Alex Petan centering pass. The goal stood up as the game winner although it wasn’t for lack of chances.

The hosts put 13 shots on goal in the final frame.  Copley was up to the challenge. He made an incredible toe save on Reed Seckel to keep the Huskies in front midway through the frame.

NMU’s Dominik Shine was whistled for a five-minute major for contact to the head at the 12:32 mark. The Huskies had two great chances on the extended power play before Jacob Johnstone was called for goaltender interference at 15:58. Tech was also assessed a bench minor at that time, leading to the 4-on-3 and 5-on-3 situations.

With Blake Pietila and David Johnstone both in the penalty box as well serving 10-minute misconducts, Tech was extremely shorthanded.

NMU applied as much pressure as it could muster, but Copley kept the puck out of the net for the final 4:02 to preserve the victory.

“Sometimes you get outplayed, and you need your goaltender to steal one for you. He did,” said Pearson. “This was his best performance of the season.”

Opposite of last night’s game, Tech was the team scoring the early goal. Pietila fired a pass from the half wall to Reid Sturos on the back door. Sturos tapped it in at the 3:56 mark for this fourth goal of the weekend.

The teams skated 6:12 into the second period before NMU tied the score with a power-play goal from Shine.

The Huskies regained their lead at the 14:04 mark when Daniel Holmberg tallied his second goal of the season. Blake Hietala won the puck behind the net and fed it to Holmberg, who took his time and picked the upper corner over Mathias Dahlstrom’s shoulder.

The Wildcats again used the power play to even the score. Ryan Daugherty poked in a rebound past Copley with 2:23 left in period two.

NMU had two good scoring chances to start the third period before the Huskies pushed back and scored the game winner.

The final shot totals favored the Wildcats by a 39-21 margin. Dahlstrom finished with 18 saves in the NMU net.

Tech, which has now swept three of its last four league series, moved into third place in the WCHA standings by itself with the two points tonight.

The Huskies will have to sit and watch other teams go for points next weekend, however, as they have a bye week. Tech wraps up its regular season March 7-8 at Minnesota State.