Looking to build off their split on the road with WCHA-leading St. Cloud State, the Michigan Tech Huskies returned home for their final WCHA home series of the season. Finishing with the Colorado College Tigers for the second straight season, the Huskies earned a win on Friday, but could not finish off a sweep on Saturday night.
The Huskies jumped all over the Tigers right from the drop of the puck. Center Tanner Kero had a golden opportunity just 15 seconds into the game, but he could not hit the net. The Huskies scored the game’s first goal at 9:40 of the opening period when the rebound of a Milos Gordic shot banked in off a Tiger defenseman.
The game remained 1–0 despite all the hard work the Huskies did trying to expand on that lead. Late in the game, Kero had another chance to score when winger Alex Petan stripped a Tigers defenseman of the puck, but again he missed the net. Finally, Kero did score with 21 seconds left in regulation after the Tigers pulled Joe Howe for an extra attacker. Jamie Phillips made 22 saves in earning the victory.
“It’s all about defense,” said Huskies’ head coach Mel Pearson. “They have a good offensive team, obviously they are the fourth-ranked offensive team in the country. I thought our guys did a real good job taking away their time and space tonight…and Jamie Phillips did a great job.”
The Tigers came out much stronger Saturday night, scoring the game’s first three goals. A power play tally by Petan a minute after the Tigers’ third goal restored the Huskies’ resolve. From that point forward, the Huskies began peppering Howe at every opportunity. Gordic scored his second goal of the weekend at 14:58 of the middle frame to cut the Tigers’ lead to one.
The Tigers responded to Gordic’s goal by striking almost 40 seconds later. Knowing that they would need a strong third period, they got just that as Kero struck 54 seconds in. From there, the Huskies continued to pressure Howe, but in the end he would not surrender that tying goal, as the Huskies fell 4-3.
“We played hard,” said Pearson. “I thought we pushed the pace. We had a couple of tough breaks on the goals, but for the most part I was happy with how we played.”
This weekend’s stick salute goes out to the senior class. Friday night, defenseman Steven Seigo picked up an assist on Kero’s empty-net tally. Saturday, Seigo added another assist, and goaltender Kevin Genoe made six saves in relief of Pheonix Copley. Five of the seven seniors saw ice time over the weekend, and while Seigo and Genoe made the scoresheet, Chad Pietila, Aaron Pietila and Carl Nielsen all contributed the Huskies’ success throughout the weekend.