HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – No. 5-ranked Michigan Tech ended both the second and third periods with a pair of goals and swept Alabama Huntsville with a 5-2 win Saturday (Nov. 29) at the Von Braun Center. Five different Huskies scored as they improved to 12-2-0 overall and 10-2-0 in the WCHA.
After Alabama Huntsville tied it up at one just over five minutes into the second period, Walker Hyland gave the Huskies the lead for good with his second goal of the season from Dylan Steman. Steman dug the puck out of the corner and found Hyland who blasted a one-timer to the back of the net. Blake Hietala had the secondary assist.
Alex Petan then scored his sixth goal in the last seven games with a long wrist shot just after carrying the puck into the UAH zone with less than a minute (19:21) to go in the second. Malcolm Gould and Tanner Kero assisted on the play.
“That was a huge goal,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “I thought that was the difference. It gave us a little bit of cushion going into the third period. He’s a goal scorer and placed it well. That was a great shot.”
Seven minutes (6:57) into the third period, the Chargers drew within one after a long shot through traffic by Frank Misuraca. Max McHugh and Ben Reinhardt assisted on the tally.
After the goal, Matt Wintjes had to step into the Husky net because of an equipment error on the left pad of Jamie Phillips. The two swapped places after Wintjes saw only 10 seconds of action. A quick whistle and media timeout gave Phillips the time he needed to make an adjustment.
Tech regained the two-goal lead 1:13 later when Gould buried his fifth of the season. Kero had the initial shot saved, but Gould picked up the rebound and shelved one over goaltender Matt Larose’s glove.
UAH (3-11-2, 2-8-0 WCHA) pulled Larose with 1:51 left and it was Hietala scoring a shorthanded, empty net goal to seal the victory for the Huskies. He picked up a loose puck at center ice and went in alone for his third of the season.
“Any points you can get in this league on the road are big,” said Pearson. “It was a long trip, but it makes it more enjoyable when you win two games. Points are points and you’ve got to get them when you can.
“These are the toughest games to play because most people would expect us to win these games. They’ll see the score and the shots on goal, but they don’t realize how tough it was and how close it was.”
Kero opened the scoring 3:39 into the game when he picked up a loose puck while sliding on his knees in front of the UAH net. All he had to do was chip it into the back of the open net after the goaltender got out of position. Petan picked up an assist on Kero’s fifth of the season and 40th of his career.
The Chargers tied it 14:25 into the second when Brennan Saulnier won the draw back to Brandon Carlson who wristed a shot through traffic that Phillips didn’t see.
Tech outshot UAH 37-15. Larose had 32 saves, while Phillips stopped 13 shots.
The two teams meet again in Houghton on Jan. 30-31.
Tech has next weekend off (Dec. 5-6) before hosting Minnesota Duluth in a non-conference series at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena on Dec. 12-13.
(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)