Huskies hockey team shuts out defending champs

Courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletics

DULUTH, Minn. – Michigan Tech scored four first period goals and goaltender Josh Robinson made 29 saves en route to a 5-0 shutout victory over No. 1 Minnesota Duluth tonight at AMSOIL Arena. The Huskies (12-12-2, 9-7-2 WCHA) took three points off of the Bulldogs (17-5-4, 11-4-3 WCHA) this weekend and became the first team to beat UMD in Duluth since Oct. 15.

“I’m proud and happy for our players,” said head coach Mel Pearson. “To play the No. 1 team in the country in their building and come out with three points is a big statement for our team.

“We were able to continue tonight in the way we finished last night’s game. We converted our opportunities and got good goaltending. That’s a big formula for success.”

Robinson earned his third shutout of the season. He held UMD scoreless for 105 straight minutes starting with the second period yesterday.

Blake Pietila, David Johnstone and Steven Seigo all had multi-point games to lift Tech back to .500 on the year at 12-12-2.

Senior captain Brett Olson, a native of nearby Superior, Wis., opened scoring with a rifle shot into the top right corner of the goal after walking into the slot. The goal came at the 9:25 mark.

Olson’s linemate Blake Pietila made it a 2-0 game with a fortunate bounce on the power play. Seigo fed the puck down to the right goal line to Pietila, who attempted to feed a teammate on the back door. Instead the puck deflected off a defenseman into the net.

UMD was called for a second straight penalty minutes later, and the Huskies added another marker on the man advantage. Just 26 seconds into the power play, David Johnstone skated the puck into the zone by splitting two defenders and passing to Pietila who fed it right back. Johnstone put a low shot into the back of the net for his fourth power-play goal in the last three games.

Johnstone had the primary assist to his brother, Jacob, for a fourth goal in the period. The elder Johnstone sniped a shot inside the near post for his second goal of the weekend.

Aaron Crandall replaced Kenny Reiter in net for the Bulldogs at the first intermission break. Crandall stopped 17-of-18 shots in his two periods of play.

The score remained 4-0 through the second period. Tanner Kero tacked on the fifth goal just 40 seconds into the final frame. He buried a shot top shelf off a nice pass from Blake Pietila behind the goal.

UMD had two power plays in the third period, but couldn’t solve Robinson, who improved to 11-9-2 on the season.

Tech finished 2-for-4 on the power play and held a 32-29 advantage in shots on goal. The Black and Gold held UMD senior Hobey Baker candidate Jack Connolly pointless for two straight games-the first time that’s happened since his sophomore season.

The Huskies now have six players tied for the team lead in goals with eight apiece. Kero, David Johnstone and Blake Pietila all tallied their eighth tonight.

Michigan Tech will play another road series in Minnesota next weekend. The Huskies head to Mankato to face Minnesota State Friday and Saturday (Feb. 3-4).

Posted by Jerry Taylor