HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech Huskies forward Mike Neville had the game winning goal for Michigan Tech Saturday, with 18.4 seconds left in the third period to lift Tech past Minnesota Duluth, 4-3. It was Neville’s first goal of the season. For Mike, that goal was also just what he needed to uplift his spirits a bit.
Mike’s grandfather, who he was really close with, recently passed away. Saturday’s game was Neville’s first time back in the lineup since returning from his grandfather’s funeral. After scoring the deciding goal, Neville talked about the pass from Tyler Heinonen, and his late grandfather.
“My grandfather was a special man,” said Neville after the game. “It wasn’t somebody that my parents knew and I was just there out of support for my parents. I was close enough to him– I gave his eulogy. It was something pretty terrifying but something pretty special at the same time. Again, I’m just really happy to get the win for the guys.”
“It was a developing 2–on–2,” said Neville about how the game winning goal came about. “Ty (Tyler Heinonen) was actually ahead of me. The most important thing was communicating with him. I gave him a shout out and he knew I was there. He made a really good play, faked the drop pass, got around both (defensemen) and I was wide open on the back door. It was an unbelievable play by him.”
“It’s tough to lose a family member like that,” said Tech goalie Jamie Phillips. “Neville is our best friend, we’re family in there. We’re going to battle for each other and battle for him and show that there are hockey gods when a guy like that scores a big goal.”
“It was a tough week for Mike,” said fellow Huskies forward CJ Eick. “To come back and get that goal, that was the perfect ending.”
The Huskies and Bulldogs each came away from the weekend series with a win. Mel Pearson said that it was a good thing for his squad to play one of the nation’s best teams.
“It’s good for our program to have to play like that,” said Pearson. “It exposes some things that we need to get better at. I thought for the most part that we had four pretty good periods against them.”
The Huskies are off this week. Their next game is Dec. 28 at the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit against Michigan.