Weekend Wrap: Huskies sweep Spartans at home

After opening their season 1-6-1, the Michigan Tech Huskies were looking forward to some home-cooking. It turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered for them as they rolled to a pair of victories over the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans came into the weekend having won their previous three games, but a methodical forecheck by the Huskies’ forwards was enough to get the road team off its game as the Huskies won 3-0 on Friday and 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.

Friday

The Huskies jumped all over the Spartans early and often on Friday night. Their hard work was rewarded just 5:49 in, when Ryan Furne found David Johnstone alone in front of Spartans’ goaltender Jake Hildebrand. Johnstone wasted no time beating Hildebrand with a wrist shot. The game remained 1-0 until the third when Tanner Kero fired a wrist shot through Hildebrand’s legs at 1:48. Alex Petan extended the lead to three with a wrist shot of his own from the right boards with Kero causing all kinds of havoc in front of Hildebrand.

Copley was not really challenged by the Spartans, making 19 saves en route to his first shutout of the season.

“I give our guys a lot of credit,” said Huskies’ head coach Mel Pearson. “They were ready to play tonight. Overall, I thought we were ready to play, had a good start, and were able to put some pressure on their defense.”

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Saturday

In his first shift of the game, Brent Baltus gave the Huskies a lead with his first career goal when he lifted a rebound shot over Spartans’ goalie Will Yanakeff at 3:00. The Spartans would tie the game early in the second period. The game remained tied until late in the frame when Kero took a pass in front of the net from Blake Pietila and beat Yanakeff with a one-timer at 19:57. The Spartans tied the game again with an early third-period goal. In overtime, Petan lifted a shot from the slot over Yanakeff to win the game for the Huskies at 3:52.

While Copley did surrender two goals, he came up with 17 saves to pick up his third victory of the season.

“I thought it was a good performance for our team,” said Pearson.  “I thought both teams played to win tonight.”

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Stick Salute

This week’s Stick Salute goes to the Huskies’ top line of Blake Pietila, Tanner Kero, and Alex Petan. After a week in which Pearson challenged all three both on the ice and in the media, the trio scored two goals and three assists on Friday. Picking up where they left off on Saturday, the line scored two more goals, including Petan’s game-winner in overtime, and four assists. Thanks to the big weekend, Pietila and Petan are now tied for the team lead in points with six.

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.