Michigan Tech Earns Weekend Sweep with 2-1 Win Against Bemidji State
Senior defenseman Riley Sweeney scores goal for Huskies

Senior defenseman Riley Sweeney scored a goal for the Huskies
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
1st 18:20  MTU1-0 EV Riley Sweeney (2)Cliff Watson/8, Tyler Heinonen/5
2nd 10:31  BMJ1-1 PP Brendan Harms (8)Phillip Marinaccio/8, Gerry Fitzgerald/11
3rd 13:59  MTU2-1 EV GW Tanner Kero (15)Mark Auk/5, Brent Baltus/6
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Bemidji State  0101
Michigan Tech  1012
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
Bemidji State  5111228
Michigan Tech  116623
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Bemidji State (10-14-4)  1/6 3/6 0
Michigan Tech (22-7-1)  0/3 6/12 0
Bemidji State Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Michael Bitzer (L, 8-9-2)58:072 106521
Empty Net1:530     
Michigan Tech Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Jamie Phillips (W, 21-6-1)59:511 5101227
Empty Net0:090     

HOUGHTON, Mich. - No. 5 Michigan Tech defeated Bemidji State 2-1 on Saturday (Feb. 7) to sweep the WCHA, and season series, against the Beavers. The Huskies won the MacInnes Cup for the third year in a row, and senior defenseman Riley Sweeney was named Winter Carnival MVP.

Saturday's win also locked up a WCHA home playoff series on March 13-15. It will be a best-of-three series against a to-be-determined opponent. Tech last hosted a WCHA home playoff series during the 1992-93 season.

"I'm extremely proud of our players," Tech coach Mel Person said about clinching home playoffs. "I'm really happy for our fans, the university, the athletic department, and all of our supporters. It is long overdue."

The Huskies outscored the Beavers 5-2 on the weekend to win the MacInnes Cup.

Sweeney earned the MVP by scoring for the second night in a row. Like Friday night, he put the Huskies up 1-0 in the first period. With 1:40 before the first intermission, Tech won the draw back to the blue line. Sweeney stepped into a long wrist shot that traveled through traffic into the upper corner of the net. Cliff Watson and Tyler Heinonen assisted on Sweeney's second of the season and fourth of his career.

"You never know who's going to get that opportunity to step up for our team," added Pearson. "Riley was that guy this weekend. I'm really happy for him, especially after everything he's went through this season."

After the Huskies outshot the Beavers 11-5 in the first period, BSU turned the tables in the second. Jamie Phillips had 10 saves in the frame but relied on plays from teammates Malcolm Gould and Chris Leibinger to keep the puck out. Gould back checked and lifted the stick of a BSU player in front of Phillips 2:00 into the period. Late in the second, Leibinger broke up a partial breakaway before a shot was even taken.

Bemidji State (10-14-4, 6-10-4 WCHA) did tie it up just past the midway (10:31) point of the game on a power play goal by Brendan Harms. Phillip Marinacc and Gerry Fitzgerald picked up the assists, as Harms was able to jam the puck under the pads of Phillips.

The two teams entered the third period knotted at one for the second night in a row. This time it was Tanner Kero with the heroics for the Huskies, as he scored his team-leading 15th of the season with 6:01 remaining.

Mark Auk took a shot from the blue line that bounced off the back wall, hit the side of the net, and found the tape Kero's stick. Kero calmly hit a sharp-angled shot that got behind Bitzer. Brent Baltus also added an assist.

"Auk got the puck deep from the point," Kero said. "It bounced off the back wall, the goalie fell, and it was just a scrum. It was laying there, so I threw it on net and luckily it went in."

BSU twice added the extra attacker late in the game, but Phillips stood tall between the pipes for the Huskies, finishing with 12 saves in the third period alone. He finished with 28 saves to win his nation-leading 21st game of the season.

"I can't say enough about Jamie Phillips," Pearson said. "I thought this might have been his best game of the second half of the season. It reminded me of the way he was playing earlier this year. If he plays like that we're going to win a lot more games."

Tech was called for six minor penalties, while the Beavers were whistled for three. The Huskies were 0-for-3 on the man advantage and BSU was 1-for-6.

The Huskies wrapped up their nine-game home stand, finishing 7-2 during the stretch. Up next, Tech takes its six-game winning streak up to Alaska for its second series against Alaska Anchorage. The Huskies won 2-0 and 3-1 during the November series against the Seawolves at home.

GAME NOTES: Attendance was 3,771...Kero has scored in three straight games and is on a six-game (5-5=10) point streak...Tech is unbeaten in its last 10 games against Bemidji State...The last time Tech won 22 games in a season was 1982-83.