The No. 11 Michigan Tech Huskies came into this weekend with a one-point lead over third place and a desire to make up for a disappointing weekend against the Northern Michigan Wildcats. That task would be tall, however, as the Huskies had No. 7 Bowling Green in town. The Huskies fought back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits Friday night to win 4-3. Saturday, the Huskies fell behind 3-0, cut that lead to 3-2, but could not get any closer, falling by that same score.
After a scoreless first period, the Falcons jumped ahead 2-0 14:44 into the second. Assistant captain Alex Petan got open in the slot to score at 16:23 to cut the lead in half. Defenseman Mark Auk tied the game at 18:26 with a booming slap shot from the left point. It was his first career goal.
The Falcons regained the lead on the power play 6:30 into the third. Winger Brent Baltus banged home the tying goal at 7:52. Co-captain Blake Pietila attempted to tie the game on the power play, when he attempted a deke. He was stopped, but co-captain Tanner Kero snatched up the rebound and scored at 10:19.
“I liked our team,” said coach Mel Pearson. “I liked the perseverance. We got behind and a lot was not going our way, but we hung in there.”
Again after one period, the game was scoreless. However, the Huskies appeared to control play for much of the early portion of the second period until the Falcons struck on a fluky goal. The Falcons scored twice more in a two minute span, ending Jamie Phillips’ night. Sophomore Matt Wintjes came in and shut the door.
Blake Pietila single-handedly pulled the Huskies back into the game. He scored his first of the night at 12:30 of the second after pumping home a rebound into a yawning net. He struck again at 17:32 when winger Malcolm Gould fed him in the left circle for a shot through the wickets.
“Against good teams, it is going to be hard to score yourself back into games,” said Pearson. “We just have to be sure we shore that up and play better.”
This week’s Stick Salute goes to senior Blake Pietila. Several Huskies had nice weekends, despite the results, but Pietila notched three points on the weekend with his two goals on Saturday and assist on Friday’s game-winner. The veteran center has been great in the faceoff circle all season, but he has struggled at times to score as teams bear down on him. The Wildcats took to covering him with multiple defenders. The Falcons chose not to, and he used the open ice to his advantage. Pearson and his staff hope this is the beginning of a strong finish for the senior.