Huskies rout Wolverines to complete sweep

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Another sold out crowd at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena saw the No. 17-ranked Michigan Tech Huskies defeat No. 15 Michigan, 6-2, to earn a non-conference sweep of the Wolverines and remain unbeaten at 6-0. Tech scored four power play goals and has its best start since the 1972-73 season.

The last time Tech swept a series with the Wolverines was in 1983—their last visit to Houghton. The Huskies are one of only two teams in Division I college hockey that have won all of their games. Brown is the other with a 1-0 record.

“You couldn’t ask for a better weekend,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “I feel great for our players and am so happy for our fans. To see a team as good as the University of Michigan, and for us to find a way to beat them, was just great.

“It was important that we got a lead and got the fans into the game. Jamie Phillips also was a major factor all weekend.”

A four-goal first period began with a Tanner Kero steal and breakaway goal for his third of the season 4:15 into the game.

The Huskies weathered an early offensive storm by the Wolverines and then made it 2-0 on Tyler Heinonen‘s first goal of the season. Alex Gillies sent a pass to Blake Hietala out front who then slipped a no-look, backhanded pass to a wide-open Heinonen.

Michigan’s Andrew Copp got the Maize and Blue on the score sheet with a wrist shot from the top of the circles at 9:29 of the first. Tyler Motte and Dexter Dancs assisted on the goal.

David Johnstone put the Huskies back up by two with his nation-leading third power play tally on a one-timer from Blake Pietila and Alex Petan at 14:28.

Tech tacked on two more in the second period. Pietila found himself open in the slot on the power play and a quick passing play from Petan and Johnstone set up the goal at 7:50.

Petan got into the mix with a blast from the point seven minutes later (14:54) to make it 5-1. Pietila and Shane Hanna assisted on the goal.

UM (2-5-0) scored 41 seconds into the third off the stick of Max Shuart, but it was Brent Baltus, playing in his second game of the year, capping it off for the Huskies midway (9:59) through the third period. Hietala was again open in front of the net, and this time he set up Baltus for his third career goal.

“We have depth on this team,” Pearson said. “As much as power play and penalty kill was the difference tonight, I wanted to play five on five because of that depth.

“I wanted to get some fresh legs in tonight and Hietala and Heinonen really stepped up. The players are making it difficult right now for the coaches to decide who’s in the lineup.”

Phillips improved to 6-0 between the pipes for the Huskies, stopping 26 shots. He had nine saves in the first, six in the second, and 11 in the third.

Steve Racine started in goal for Michigan and was pulled after Johnstone’s goal. He finished with 11 saves. Zach Nagelvoort had 10 saves in the final two periods in relief.

The Wolverines racked up 46 minutes of penalties that included a pair of game misconducts and an unsportsmanlike conduct. Tech’s four power play goals came on seven man advantage situations.

Tech was whistled for eight minor penalties, and UM was 0-for-7 on the power play.

The crowd of 4,466 was tied for the seventh largest in school history. The school record for attendance at hockey is 4,619, which was set Feb. 7, 1976 vs. Michigan.

The Huskies play their WCHA home-opening series next weekend (Nov. 7-8) against Alaska Anchorage. The puck drops at 7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m.

(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)