HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The No. 5-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team defeated Alabama Huntsville 4-2 on Friday (Nov. 28) night at the Von Braun Center to improve to 11-2-0 overall and 9-2-0 in the WCHA. Dylan Steman and Shane Hanna each had a goal and an assist to lead the Huskies to victory.
UAH (3-10-2, 2-7-0 WCHA) scored only 68 seconds into the game with a shorthanded goal by Craig Pierce.
With just over 4:00 left (13:56) in the first period and Tech on a 3-on-1 break, CJ Eick carried the puck into the Huntsville zone, stopped in the middle of the circle, and fed a pass out front to a wide-open Steman. Steman scored for the second time this season after picking up his first tally as a Husky on the opening weekend.
Early (2:21) in the second period, it was Steman finding Alex Gillies on a similar play to make it 2-1. Gillies scored his second of the season with Hanna picking up the secondary assist.
The Chargers tied it at two with a power play goal by Jeff Vanderlugt. The initial shot was taken from the blue line by Jack Prince but tipped by Vanderlugt in front of goaltender Jamie Phillips.
Hanna then put the Huskies on top for good with a tight-angled shot from the left-side hash marks along the boards. Gould took the first shot that squirted out to the wall were Hanna picked up the puck and flung it at the UAH net. The shot caught goaltender Carmine Guerriero off guard as it sailed over his shoulder into the back of the net.
Huntsville applied a lot of pressure in the third period and pulled Guerriero with 1:35 left. The Huskies sustained the pressure and it was Cliff Watson scoring his first career goal with a backhanded flip from the opposite blue line that ended up in the back of the empty net.
“Our overall team defense was the best part of our game tonight,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “We did a real good job.
“That first goal put us on our heels a little bit and their power play goal to tie it up was big, but we hung in there and did a good job of eliminating their good scoring chances. That’s what you need to do on the road.”
Phillips finished with 12 saves on the evening—a season low. Guerriero stopped 30 shots with 10 in each period.
The Huskies were 0-for-7 on the power play, including four in the first period alone. UAH was 1-for-1.
“The Eick, Steman, Gillies line was outstanding,” Pearson said. “They were skating, working hard and moving their feet all night. Their speed, aggressiveness, and puck control was good. They were rewarded with Steman’s goal and that beautiful goal by Gillies.”
The two teams wrap up the WCHA series at 8:07 p.m. Eastern on Saturday (Nov. 29).
“We have confidence, poise and patience, because we’ve been in games like this all year,” added Pearson. “It was a huge two points for our team. We’ll regroup, get some rest, and be ready to go again tomorrow.”
(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)