(Off) Wisconsin: Tech wins big vs. Badgers

MADISON, Wis. – The No. 5-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team remained unbeaten on the road as the Huskies offense exploded for eight goals in an 8-1 win over the Wisconsin Badgers in non-conference action. Tech’s two captains Tanner Kero and Blake Pietila each scored a pair of goals as six different Huskies tallied a goal at the Kohl Center.

“Things went in for us tonight,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “We had a lot of guys contributing and a lot of guys scoring.”

Tech improved to 15-4-0 overall and again has the most wins in the country. Five different players had multiple point games for the the Huskies who won their ninth straight road game.

“We can still be better,” added Pearson. “It’s hard when you get a big lead. We got sloppy in the third, and we’ve got to learn how to finish and play the right way from the start to the end.”

Kero made it 1-0 with a shorthanded goal for the second game in a row 3:34 after the initial puck drop. The unassisted tally was scored after a wrist shot between the circles.

Alex Petan scored a power play goal at 8:08 for a 2-0 lead, as he carried the puck across the top of the slot and sent in a wrist shot. David Johnstone and Pietila picked up the assists on Petan’s ninth of the season.

Pietila scored his first of the game 1:40 later, as he tapped in a rebound after a shot by Johnstone. Shane Hanna added the secondary assist on Tech’s third of the game.

The gates were open again in the second as Dylan Steman finished off a beautiful pass from Joel L’Esperance only 76 seconds into the period. It was Steman’s fourth of his rookie campaign. CJ Eick also assisted.

Right after a Tech power play expired, Blake Hietala slipped a shot under goaltender Landon Peterson 8:39 into the second for his fourth of the year and a 5-0 lead. Mark Auk recorded his first point as a Husky with an assist, while Matt Roy also picked up a helper.

After UW killed of 23 seconds of a 5-on-3, Petan found Kero streaking to the net for his second of the game on a 5-on-4 power play just past the midway point of the game (11:39). Hanna assisted on Kero’s eighth of the year.

Wisconsin (1-11-1) finally got on the board with 6.7 seconds left in the second on a goal by Morgan Zulinick.

In the third, Pietila scored his second of the game, and sixth of the season, 5:15 in. He one-timed a long rebound, breaking his stick on the play after an initial shot taken by Johnstone was saved. Petan also assisted.

Malcolm Gould got into the action 12:09 into the third with his eighth of the year, after Kero fed him a pass for a one-timer. For Kero, it was his 16th assist of the year, ranking him third in the nation.

Jamie Phillips made the start between the pipes for Tech, stopping 19 shots in the first two and a half periods. Matt Wintjes saw his first real action of the season in the third making five saves in 7:04.

“He came in during a tough situation,” Pearson said about Wintjes. “He looked good. He made himself big and found the puck.”

Joel Rumpel started in goal for the Badgers but was relieved by Peterson after Tech’s first three goals. Rumpel finished with three saves while Peterson had 29.

(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)