Every weekday from May 23-June 3, we will be looking back at the top-10 moments from the 2015-16 WCHA season. Up next on our countdown is…
Moment #7: Desert Hockey Classic Champions
While Michigan Tech eventually hoisted a larger and more prominent trophy, the Huskies got their first taste of 2015-16 championship hardware by winning the inaugural Desert Hockey Classic – a four-team, two-day event hosted by D-I newcomer Arizona State on Jan. 9-10. In addition to the Huskies and Sun Devils, the tournament featured Connecticut from Hockey East and Yale from ECAC Hockey.
Playing at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., home of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes, Michigan Tech opened with a 4-2, semifinal win over Connecticut in an all-Huskies matchup. UConn opened the scoring at the 9:59 mark of the first period, before Tech rattled off the next four goals. Brent Baltus knotted the game 1-1 in the first, Dylan Steman and Alex Gilles (game-winner) scored in the second period, and Shane Hanna found the back of the net 5:27 into the third stanza to give MTU a 4-1 lead.
Michigan Tech faced off against No. 12 Yale on Sunday afternoon in a game befitting a tournament championship tilt. Steman scored an early third-period goal to tie the game 1-1 and Jamie Phillips made 24 saves to help the Huskies earn a 2-1, shootout victory. The game officially went down as a tie, but Tech clinched the tournament title when Alex Petan scored the lone shootout goal and Phillips turned aside all three Yale attempts.
"I'm very happy and extremely proud of our players," said MTU head coach Mel Pearson. "We had our moments and we stuck with it. Yale is a really good team and winning the shootout and the championship is a great accomplishment for us."
Top-10 Moments from the 2015-16 WCHA Season