Attempting to keep pace with the top half of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the Michigan Tech Huskies traveled to face the Lake Superior State Lakers, with whom they were tied in the standings. On Friday night, the Huskies jumped out to the early lead, but could not overcome a three-goal outburst from the hosts before the opening period ended. On Saturday, it was the hosts who jumped out to the early lead, but the Huskies battled their way back to earn the split.
The return of junior David Johnstone had an immediate impact for the Huskies as he found junior Blake Hietala in front the net, who scored at 7:57 of the first period. The Lakers struck three times in 8:15 to skate away with a 3-1 lead and ending sophomore Pheonix Copley’s night.
Senior Ryan Furne scored the game’s lone second period tally off a feed from freshman Reid Sturos. Sophomore C.J. Eick then tied the game 7:34 into the third. Co-captain Blake Pietila potted his second assist of the night on the goal. Unfortunately, four minutes later, the Lakers regained the lead for good, winning 4-3.
“We did a lot of good things,” said Huskies’ head coach Mel Pearson. “The second goal was the one that really hurt. We came back and had a real solid second period. We have got to find a way to bear down and not give anything up.”
A power play goal midway through the first period gave the Lakers the early lead. Looking to even things on a power play of their own, Pietila beat Kapalka at 6:41. Sophomore Alex Petan assisted on the goal. The Huskies took their first lead of the night 2:06 later when Furne struck for the second time in the weekend. Co-captain Brad Stebner and Sturos both assisted on the goal.
The Lakers tied the game with a goal just under a minute after the Huskies took the lead. Things remained that way under assistant captain Tanner Kero found daylight with 2:08 remaining in regulation. Sturos and Furne both assisted on the goal.
"This was an important victory for our team," said Pearson. "We had to battle back, kill a late penalty and were able to get the late goal. It was gutsy effort on the road against a good team."
This week’s Stick Salute goes to senior winger Ryan Furne. Having scored just six goals in 36 games last season, Furne has notched six in 22 this season thanks to a pair this past weekend. With three points on the weekend, the veteran has eight now on the season. He appears poised to have a strong finish to his final season in Black and Gold.