After jumping out to a 10-0-0 start, the Michigan Tech Huskies rocketed to the top of the hockey world, becoming the top-ranked team in the country. They faced a stiff test in No. 9 Minnesota State, and gave the Mavericks a pair of great games. Unfortunately for the home crowd, which included several students who stuck around rather than head home for Thanksgiving break, the Huskies dropped a pair of one-goal games, 2-1 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday.
The teams battled through a fast-paced first 20 minutes of play with neither team getting an advantage. It took just 1:05 in the second period for the Huskies to snatch the lead when assistant captain Alex Petan grabbed a rebound off a shot from co-captain Tanner Kero and beat Mavericks’ goaltender Stephon Williams.
Things stayed that way until a four-on-four situation in the third when the Mavericks tied the game on a nice pass in front of the net. After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Mavericks crashed the offensive zone and threw the puck in the vicinity of the net and somehow it snuck through 24 seconds later.
“We’re relying way too much on Jamie Phillips,” said coach Mel Pearson. “He was outstanding tonight…We have to tighten up defensively.”
Again on Saturday, both teams fought hard for the first 20 minutes with nothing to show for their efforts. Petan positioned himself in the slot and one-timed a pass from junior Malcolm Gould home to give the Huskies the lead 5:29 into the second period. The lead lasted less than two minutes as the Mavericks crashed the net and somehow pushed the puck through to tie the game,
An unfortunate penalty call against sophomore Reid Sturos put the Mavericks on the power play less than a minute into the third. The Mavericks scored a power play goal the Huskies’ goaltender Jamie Phillips would probably like back. Just under six minutes later, the Mavericks struck again. Gould would cut the lead in half with a rebound on the power play at 16:48, but that was as close as the Huskies would get.
“Minnesota State is a real good hockey team,” said Pearson. “They played hard. They are really good from the goal out. Having said that, I really like our team. We really battled hard.”
This week’s Stick Salute goes to winger Malcolm Gould. The North Vancouver, British Columbia native has yet to earn a full-time spot in the lineup in this his third season. However, through 11 games this season, he is making it very difficult for Pearson and his staff to justify taking him out of the lineup. With two points on Saturday night, Gould now has four goals and six assists for a career-high 10 points. That total is good for third on the team. What is more impressive is how Gould has played without the puck. No matter what line Gould has been on, he has played just as tough defensively as he has offensively.