Michigan Tech Earns Weekend Sweep with 3-2 Win Against Alaska
Senior Tanner Kero scores goal and assist for Huskies

Senior Tanner Kero scored a goal and an assist for the Huskies
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
1st 10:28  AKF1-0 PP Tyler Morley (9)Garrick Perry/11, Colton Parayko/14
1st 17:06  MTU1-1 EV Chris Leibinger (1)Alex Petan/18, Brent Baltus/3
1st 19:06  AKF2-1 EV Austin Vieth (7) -
2nd 9:57  MTU2-2 PP Blake Pietila (10)Malcolm Gould/11, Tanner Kero/19
3rd 12:38  MTU3-2 EV GW Tanner Kero (11)Brent Baltus/4, Alex Petan/19
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Alaska  2002
Michigan Tech  1113
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
Alaska  1151127
Michigan Tech  6121230
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Alaska (12-13-1)  1/4 6/12 0
Michigan Tech (18-7-1)  1/5 5/10 0
Alaska Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Sean Cahill (L, 2-6-0)59:073 5111127
Empty Net0:530     
Michigan Tech Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Jamie Phillips20:002 9009
Matt Wintjes (W, 1-1-0)39:580 051116
Empty Net0:020     

HOUGHTON, Mich. - No. 10 Michigan Tech trailed twice on Saturday (Jan. 24) but came back both times, and Tanner Kero scored the game winner after a great play by Brent Baltus to earn a WCHA series sweep of Alaska. The Huskies won 3-2 and improved to 18-7-1 overall and 13-4-1 in the WCHA.

"It was big weekend for our guys," Kero said. "We knew we needed to get a few points to stay in that second place spot and gain a couple on Minnesota State. We dug ourselves a few holes but showed a gutsy effort coming back both nights."

Tech trailed 3-1 on Friday before coming back to score the game's final three, including the overtime game winner by Blake Pietila.

At the midway point of the game Saturday, and the Huskies trailing 2-1, Pietila scored for the third game in a row to tie it up. With the home team on a man advantage, Malcolm Gould carried the puck down the left side, dropped it over to the second trailer, Pietila, who one-timed it in. Kero added the second assist.

Kero scored the game winner 12:38 into the third. A long rebound squirted over to Baltus who kicked it up to his stick before finding Kero wide-open on the far side of the ice. For Baltus, it was his second assist of the night and fifth point in the last five games. Petan also assisted on the play.

"I can't say enough about Brent Baltus," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "He was in and out of the lineup earlier in the season but never gave up on himself. He kept working hard in practice and has taken advantage of his opportunities.

"He's playing his best hockey since he's been at Michigan Tech, and he's a big part of our team and the success we're having right now."

Husky goaltender Matt Wintjes stood tall for the Huskies in the late stages of the game, earning his first career win in the final two periods of play. He had 11 saves in the third and finished the game tying a career-high with 16 saves.

"Defensively, I think the second half of the game we played unbelievable," Wintjes said. "We stuck to our game plan.

"I feel goaltending is all confidence. I get more confident as I get more ice time, and that can take you a long way as a goaltender."

Alaska scored twice in the first period. Tyler Morley had a power play goal 10:28 into the frame, while Austin Vieth had an unassisted goal with 54 seconds left in the first.

Sandwiched between the two Nanook tallies was Chris Leibinger's first goal of the season and second of his career at the 17:06 mark. The Baltus-Kero-Petan line cycled the puck in the UAF end and swung it out to the blueline. Leibinger carried the puck across the zone and wristed in a long shot to knot it at one. Petan and Baltus were credited with the assists.

The Huskies had chances to take the lead before the Kero goal. Blake Hietala had an open net late in the second, but a bouncing puck allowed UAF goaltender Sean Cahill to get in position for the glove save. Early in the third, Dylan Steman carried the puck across the crease and waited for space before firing a shot that was gloved down by Cahill.

Steman had a chance to make it a two-goal lead late in the game on a shorthanded breakaway. After making a move his shot sailed wide. Reid Sturos also missed an open net after the Nanooks pulled their goaltender in the final minute.

Tech outshot Alaska 30-27. Jamie Phillips started in net for the Huskies and had nine saves in the first period.

Tech was 1-for-5 on the power play after six Alaska penalties. The Nanooks were 1-for-4 on the man advantage after five Husky minors.

The Huskies continue their nine-game home stand next weekend (Jan. 30-31) against Alabama Huntsville. It will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. Tech won 4-2 and 5-2 on Nov. 28-29 in Alabama.

The Chargers currently sit in a tie for eighth in the WCHA standings and have won four of their last six league games.

GAME NOTES: Pietila now has 42 career goals...He has 16 career power play goals...Four Huskies have 90 career points after the weekend: Kero (95), Pietila (95), Johnstone (92), Petan (92)...Gould has a point in three straight games (4a) and four of the last five games (1g, 4a)...The last time Tech won 18 games in a season was 2006-07.