Tech Hockey to host UMD


Courtesy of MTU Athletics

Michigan Tech plays just its second series in the last four weeks this weekend when it hosts Minnesota Duluth. The Huskies were off Nov. 9-10, earned a road sweep at Bemidji State Nov. 16-17 and had another weekend off Nov. 23-24. Friday’s (Nov. 30) contest will be the just the Huskies’ fifth in November (compared to seven in October and eight in December).

Tech swept Bemidji State Nov. 16-17 for its first series sweep since Mar. 9-10 in a WCHA playoff series at Colorado College. It was the Huskies’ first regular season sweep since last Jan. 13-14 at home vs. Alaska Anchorage (6-2, 6-4), their first regular season road sweep since Jan. 4-5, 2008, at Mercyhurst (3-2, 5-1) and their first WCHA regular season road sweep since Dec. 15-16, 2006, at North Dakota (3-1, 3-2).

Freshman Jujhar Khaira had a breakout weekend with four points in Tech’s two wins at Bemidji State Nov. 16-17 and was named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week. He scored two power-play goals in the final eight minutes on Nov. 16 to tie the score, then had the primary assist on the overtime game winner. Khaira had the primary assist on the Nov. 17 overtime game winner as well. Khaira, who entered the weekend with 0-4=4 in eight games, doubled his point total to 2-6=8.

Alex Petan posted a goal and three assists during Tech’s sweep at Bemidji State. The rookie scored the overtime game winner on Nov. 16 to go with two assists. He then had an assist on the overtime winner on Nov. 17. Petan, who is currently on a four-game point streak, owns 2-5=7 over the last four contests. With a 1.0 points per game average, the right wing ranks fifth nationally (tied for first in the WCHA) in scoring among rookies.

Sophomore Blake Pietila scored a goal in each of Tech’s overtime wins at Bemidji State. He had a momentum changing tally late in the second period on Nov. 16 to pull the Huskies within 4-2 heading into the second intermission. Tech would go on to win 5-4 in overtime. Pietila then lit the lamp in overtime Nov. 17 to give the Huskies the series sweep. The New Jersey Devils draft choice leads the team in goals with seven. He is currently on a four-game point streak, a three-game goal streak and has made the scoresheet in 7-of-10 games this season.

Michigan Tech owns a 119-82-19 record vs. Minnesota Duluth since the series began in 1952. The Huskies are 60-34-11 against the Bulldogs in Houghton. Tech earned a 4-4 overtime tie and 5-0 victory the last time the teams met (Jan. 27-28, 2012, in Duluth).

Goaltender Kevin Genoe earned both wins in net for Michigan Tech at Bemidji to improve to 3-1-0 on the season. The senior made saves on 26-of-30 shots Nov. 16 and 27-of-28 shots Nov. 17. Genoe owns a goals against average of 2.51 and save percentage of .913 in five appearances this season.

Michigan Tech is 8-1-14 in its last 23 overtime games stretching back to 2009. The only loss in the stretch was a 3-2 overtime loss to Denver in last year’s WCHA Final Five quarterfinal game. The Huskies are 6-1-4 under Coach Pearson in overtime.

Freshman Walker Hyland saw his first official action as a Husky in Tech’s last game (Nov. 17). The defenseman finished plus-one with a team-high six shots on goal.

Senior defenseman Carl Nielsen possesses a team-best plus-minus rating of plus three … Tech went 3-for-10 on the power play in its last series to improve its season percentage to 20.8 (10-for-48). The Huskies rank fifth in the WCHA and 14th nationally on the man advantage … Sophomore David Johnstone tallied four assists at Bemidji State and now leads the team with seven … Head coach Mel Pearson earned his 20th career win on Nov. 17. The Huskies’ second-year skipper is 20-25-4 in his tenure in Houghton.

Steven Seigo had a strong weekend with two goals and an assist at Bemidji State. The senior defenseman scored the game’s opening goal both nights. On Nov. 16, it was a shot from the center blue line on the power play. On the Nov. 17 goal, it was a one-timer with the teams skating four-on-four. Seigo added an assist in the Nov. 16 game. Seigo entered this season with 58 career points and had just two heading into the Bemidji series. He now has 2-3=5 on the year.