Huskies take down Michigan in Houghton

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The No. 17-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team remains undefeated at 5-0 with a 4-1 victory over No. 15 Michigan on Halloween night. A sold out John MacInnes Student Ice Arena crowd welcomed the Wolverines back to Houghton for the first time since 1983.

The Huskies scored a goal in each of the first two periods and added a pair of goals in the third, and Jamie Phillips continued his dominant play between the pipes for the Huskies, stopping 28 shots.

The crowd of 4,466 was the seventh largest in school history. The last crowd over 4,000 came Oct. 13, 2012, vs. Lake Superior State (4,254). The school record for attendance at hockey is 4,619, which was set Feb. 7, 1976 vs. Michigan.

“Overall it was a good night,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “The crowd was outstanding, and they gave us a lot of energy. Anytime you can get a win over a team like the University of Michigan, it’s a good win.

“We were fortunate and got some breaks around the net. We didn’t score on our best opportunities.”

Also making an appearance at Friday’s game were the three oldest hockey cups in North America, the Stanley Cup, MacNaughton Cup and Gibson Cup. The Conn Smythe and Hart Trophy were also on display.

The Huskies fed off the large crowd early with a ton of offensive pressure. Joel L’Esperance and Tanner Kero both had early chances, but it was Reid Sturos capitalizing on a cross ice feed from David Johstone 12:32 into the game. Walker Hyland also assisted on the goal.

Kero made it a 2-1 game as the Huskies added an extra attacked on a delayed penalty. Johnstone held the puck in at the line and slid it down to Cliff Watson. Watson went cross-ice to Kero for the one-timer and a two-goal lead 7:23 into the second.

Hyland scored his first of the season and third of his career on a bouncing puck that ricocheted off the back wall and a Wolverine defender into the back of the net. Kero and Chris Leibinger assisted on the play 7:36 into the third.

Michigan finally got one past goaltender Jamie Phillips midway (10:16) through the third period with a shot by Dylan Larkin between the circles over the blocker. Zach Hyman and Nolan De Jong picked up helpers.

After the Wolverines added the extra attacked late (19:16) in the third, Malcolm Gould scored into the empty net from the red line to seal the Husky win. Michael Neville and Riley Sweeney assisted on Gould’s second of the season.

“It’s a great feeling getting that win,” senior captain Tanner Kero said. “It was a big test for us, and I think we proved that we can play against any team.”

Phillips finished with 28 saves, including 14 in the first period. He entered the season with six wins under his belt and has five already this season.

Both teams took seven penalties and both were 0-for-6 on the man advantage. The Huskies outshot the Wolverines 34-29.

The two teams wrap up the non-conference series at 7:07 p.m. back at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

“We need to play better tomorrow night two win,” Pearson added. “We weren’t able to capitalize on some great chances early in the game and we have to be smarter and take fewer penalties.”

(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)