HOUGHTON, Mich. - Michigan Tech goaltender Pheonix Copley recorded his third shutout in the last five games to lift Michigan Tech to a 4-0 victory over Bemidji State tonight at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Blake Pietila tallied two goals and an assist and Malcolm Gould and Brad Stebner also had multi-point nights to give the Huskies their third win over the Beavers this season.
"It's a big win," said head coach Mel Pearson. "We got off to a real good start today. We came out and were aggressive and put them on their heels a bit."
Playing with the lead has been critical for Tech this season, and it did just that tonight. David Johnstone scored just 48 seconds into play when he fired one through BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh from the left circle.
The lead grew to 2-0 later in the frame when Pietila notched his third power-play goal of the season. Justin Fillion took a shot from the point which was tipped by Milos Gordic to Gould. Gould's shot was saved, but went right to Pietila on the back door who put it into an empty net.
Bemidji put on pressure in the second period and held an 8-6 advantage in shots on goal. The Beavers hit a pipe early in the frame and later had a play reviewed. A loose puck slid under Copley but never crossed the goal line.
Tech came right back and expanded their lead. Pietila notched his second of the season with a sniper shot from the slot on the rush. Alex Petan and Stebner each drew an assist on the play.
Gould finished off scoring with a rebound goal off a Pietila shot 2:03 into the third.
BSU had a 5-on-3 power play at the end of the game but couldn't solve Copley, who wrapped up the 25-save shutout.
Copley, who turned 21 today, earned a nice birthday gift. The rookie has helped Tech allow just six goals over the last five games (1.2 per game).
"Great job by Pheonix tonight," said Pearson. "I thought he had the critical play of the game in the second period. He stopped a shot and the rebound, then we went down and scored."
Michigan Tech improved to 7-12-3 overall and 4-10-3 in the league. The Huskies pulled even in the WCHA standings with Bemidji State (5-12-4, 4-8-3 WCHA) with the win.
The teams will wrap up their two-game weekend series and four-game season series tomorrow night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Notes: Blake Pietila was honored for winning a gold medal with Team USA at the World Juniors and responded by adding two goals to his team-leading total. He has 12 in 20 games this season (12-3=15) ... Stebner had a plus-minus rating of plus-3 on the night ... Copley is just one shy of the school record for shutouts in a season. Michael-Lee Teslak (2006-07) and Jim Warden (1974-75) both recorded four in a season ... Michigan Tech is 7-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game this season and 0-11-2 when it doesn't.