DETROIT, Mich. – The No. 5-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team defeated Ferris State 4-2 in the 50th Great Lakes Invitational Third Place Game on Monday (Dec. 29) afternoon. In the third meeting between the two teams, it was the Huskies jumping out to a 4-0 lead and holding on to improve to 14-4-0 overall.
“Last night we didn’t have as quality of scoring chances that we did tonight,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “We capitalized on those chances and found a way to win the game.
“Going forward it’s good to leave here with a win in hand. Win or lose you have to move on to the next game. The guys handled it well tonight. Now we have a short week with games at Wisconsin this weekend.”
Tech had a slow start to the game, getting only six shots to the net in each of the first two periods. Midway through the first (11:12), CJ Eick scored his second goal of the season to give the Huskies the lead. Joel L’Esperance caused a turnover in the Ferris end and Dylan Steman fed it out front to Eick in the right circle who wristed it in.
Only 59 seconds into the second, Malcolm Gould scored his second goal of the weekend, and seventh of the season, to make it 2-0. Walker Hyland had a long stretch pass to Gould who fed it across to Tanner Kero for the initial shot. Gould was there for the tap in off the rebound.
L’Esperance buried his first career goal 9:33 into the third to make it a three-goal lead. He got around his defenseman and went forehand over Bulldog goaltender CJ Motte’s glove. David Johnstone added the assist.
Four minutes later (13:27) with Ferris on the power play, Blake Pietila and Kero broke in on a 2-on-1 after Kero blocked a shot. Pietila carried it across the line, drew the defenseman and flipped it over to Kero who finished five-hole.
On the same FSU man advantage, the Bulldogs finally broke through on a goal by Brandon Anselmini. The shot was tipped in front of Phillips with assists going to Ryan Lowney and Matt Robertson at the14:28 mark.
The Huskies thought they added to the lead with 90 seconds left in the second period on a goal by Blake Hietala, but the officials reviewed the play and waved it off for goaltender interference.
The Bulldogs added the only goal of the third period 1:57 in. Simon Denis scored from Justin Buzzeo and Anselmini.
The Huskies were outshot 36-20 in the game. Phillips finished with 34 saves, including 14 in the first and 13 in the second. Motte had 16 saves for Ferris State.
“We were disappointed with last night’s result but we knew we had a chance to salvage the weekend,” Kero said. “It was a big win going into the second half of the season. Now we have to focus on Wisconsin.”
During the first intermission, Olympia Entertainment honored Michigan Tech hockey historian, and Tech Sports Hall of Famer, Paul Kerttu, who has been to all 50 GLIs.
Tech opens the New Year at Wisconsin for its final non-conference games of the season on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 2-3). The puck drops at 8:05 p.m. both nights. Saturday’s game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)