After a disappointing series with the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, the Michigan Tech Huskies stayed in the great white north during their Thanksgiving break in order to play a series against the Alaska Nanooks, a Western Collegiate Hockey Association newcomer. The Huskies took the time to work on team-building, and the results were just as head coach Mel Pearson could have hoped, as the Huskies got four points from sophomore Alex Petan en route to a sweep of the hosts. With the sweep, the Huskies improved to 2-7-2 on the road and a tie for fifth in the WCHA standings with a 4-3-1 record and nine points.
The Nanooks jumped on the Huskies right from the drop of the opening faceoff and found themselves with an early lead when a rebound found its way past sophomore goaltender Pheonix Copley. Freshman Shane Hanna evened the game just 58 seconds into the second period off a pass from Petan. Freshman Mike Neville also assisted on the goal.
Petan then went to work, scoring at 4:49 and 8:09. Sophomore C.J. Eick, who had been shuffled onto Petan’s line, assisted on both goals. Hanna added an assist on Petan’s first goal. The Nanooks cut the Huskies’ lead back to one before the middle frame ended, but that was as close as the hosts would get. Copley finished the night with 30 saves.
“It’s good to get rewarded for that hard work,” said Pearson. “We had a lot of good efforts tonight. We changed the lines up a little bit and that really helped ignite some guys.”
Copley was tested often in the opening frame Saturday night, making 15 saves. With a power play to start the second period, Petan fed Hanna for a shot from the high slot for his second goal of the weekend at :26. Midway through the period, the Huskies struck again, this time shorthanded. Eick intercepted an attempted pass, deflecting it to assistant captain Tanner Kero, who extended the lead at 10:49.
The Nanooks cut the lead in half in the third period, but they would not get any closer. Copley made five of his 28 saves in the final frame.
“A real gutsy effort by our team tonight,” said Pearson. “Every night is a battle in this league. It’s real good to win on the road”
This week’s Stick Salute goes to Alex Petan. Coming into the weekend still searching for their first road victory, Petan made it happen almost entirely on his own Friday night as he scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season, along with adding an assist. On Saturday, Petan picked up another assist on the Huskies first goal. With his four-point weekend, he now leads the Huskies in scoring with eight goals and 14 points.