Carrying the nation’s longest winning streak into this weekend, the No. 5 Michigan Tech Huskies traveled to face the Bemidji State Beavers, a team much better than their 3-5-0 record would seem to indicate. Friday night, the Huskies saw just how good the Beavers are at home, needing a pair of second period goals to keep the streak going. On Saturday, the Beavers took two leads, but the Huskies fought back for the win. At 10-0-0, the Huskies are now the only undefeated team remaining in the NCAA and remain first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with an 8-0-0 record, good for 16 points, six more than both No. 19 Bowling Green and No. 9 Minnesota State.
On Friday night, the Huskies were outshot 11-6 in the opening 20 minutes, but the game remained tied, 0-0. Junior C.J. Eick broke the game open just 3:21 into the second when he intercepted a pass and skated in a on breakaway before scoring his first of the season. Assistant captain Alex Petan would make it 2-0 at 7:03 of the second. Co-captain Tanner Kero and sophomore Brent Baltus assisted on the goal. Junior Jamie Phillips made nine of his 35 saves in the third to earn the win.
“I thought we got off to a good start and were playing pretty well until the penalty problems,” said head coach Mel Pearson. “We got the big shorthanded goal and we were playing from the lead again, but too many mistakes. Most of that is mental. I told the guys there are night where things are not going to go our way, but we did a lot of good things, too, in this game.”
The Beavers became the first team since Lake Superior State to earn the lead on the Huskies when the struck 7:10 into the game. Sophomore Reid Sturos tied the game on the power play 9:28 into the middle period. Just over two minutes later, the Beavers scored a power play goal of their own. Sophomore Tyler Heinonen scored his fourth goal in five games and third power play goal at 18:26 to tie the game again.
Petan snatched up a rebound and buried it just 45 seconds into the third to give the Huskies the lead, 3-2. The game remained that way until Kero, who had assisted on the two previous Huskies’ goals, got the puck and buried into an empty net at 19:41 to seal the game for the Huskies, 4-2.
“I liked our third period,” said Pearson. “I thought we did a real good job. We did what we needed to do. I could not be prouder of our guys. It’s a good way to end the weekend.”
This weekend’s Stick Salute goes to senior center Tanner Kero. Serving as co-captain, Kero quietly goes about his business night in and night out, but when you look back, he has impacted the game in some way. This weekend, he picked up an assist on Friday night before posting his third multi-point game on Saturday. He has been kept off the score sheet three times this season and yet leads the team in scoring with 12 points through 10 games.