Weekend Wrap-Up: Huskies Split in St. Cloud

The Michigan Tech Huskies went into last weekend’s games at St. Cloud State looking just to build a little momentum heading into the playoffs. They had not won at the National Hockey Center in 15 years, so while the chances of getting a win were small, head coach Mel Pearson and his staff wanted the team to give a solid showing, much like last season when they were swept by Colorado College on the final weekend of the year. Michigan Tech responded in spades, coming just short on Friday, 5-3, before winning Saturday, 5-1.

Friday

On Friday night, St. Cloud jumped out to a lead just 6:25 in. The hosts outshot Michigan Tech 14-9 in the opening frame. Michigan Tech played better in the second period, but had nothing to show for it except a 4-0 deficit as St. Cloud scored on their opportunities.

Things changed when the teams stepped back on the ice for the third period. Junior Milos Gordic got Michigan Tech on the board at 9:50. Senior Aaron Pietila cut the lead in half at 11:40. Michigan Tech then earned a power play and sophomore David Johnstone snatched up his own rebound and buried the puck behind St. Cloud goaltender Ryan Faragher at 14:27.

Michigan Tech goaltender Pheonix Copley struggled throughout the game. After seeing his team cut the lead to one, he surrendered the back-breaking goal just over a minute later.

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Saturday

Pearson chose to start freshman Jamie Phillips in net on Saturday. In his first start since Dec. 4, Phillips was called upon to make 16 saves in the opening period. In order to help him adjust to his first start in almost three months, his teammates scored three times in the first 4:23 of play.

Sophomore Tanner Kero scored just 28 seconds in. Freshman Jujhar Khaira extended the lead 3:51. Sophomore Riley Sweeney made it 3-0 with a blast from the point at 4:23. The score remained as such until 13:03 into the second period when Johnstone struck for the second time on the weekend. The goal chased Faragher from the St. Cloud net.

Freshman Alex Petan, who had been held without a point on Friday, capped off a three-point night when he gave Michigan Tech a 5-0 lead 8:28 into the third.

Phillips held his shutout bid for 57:16 before surrendering a goal off the stick of Jimmy Murray.

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Stick Salute

For the second time this season, our stick salute goes out to freshman netminder Jamie Phillips. On Saturday night, starting his first game since Dec. 4 against Northern Michigan, Phillips made 36 saves, many of them tough, to earn his first career victory.

While he has only two career starts, Phillips has performed admirably all season. While he has only seen action in seven games, Phillips has racked up a .915 saves percentage and a 2.33 goals against average. With the win on Saturday, he certainly will make Michigan Tech’s goaltending situation murky heading into the WCHA playoffs in two weeks.

Daver Karnosky

Daver has been around Michigan Tech hockey since his family moved to Houghton in 1983. A 2007 graduate of Michigan Tech who completed his Master's Degree in Rhetoric and Technical Communication in 2010, he has covered the Huskies as an arena reporter for USCHO.com for the last eight seasons. Daver has also covered Huskies' games for outlets such as the Daily Mining Gazette, Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Cloud Times, and the Michigan Tech Lode.