|1st||11:00||MTU||1-0||EV||Blake Pietila (12)||Jimmy Davis/1|
|1st||11:39||NMU||1-1||EV||Shane Sooth (5)||Dominik Shine/12, Reed Seckel/8|
|1st||12:10||MTU||2-1||EV GW||Cliff Watson (3)||Dylan Steman/11, Blake Hietala/8|
|2nd||14:27||MTU||3-1||EV||Tyler Heinonen (9)||Malcolm Gould/15, Mike Neville/7|
|3rd||3:25||MTU||4-1||EV||Blake Pietila (13)||Reid Sturos/9, David Johnstone/15|
|3rd||5:31||MTU||5-1||EV||Tyler Heinonen (10)||Chris Leibinger/5, Malcolm Gould/16|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Northern Michigan (14-15-6)||0/3||4/8||0|
|Michigan Tech (25-8-2)||0/4||3/6||0|
|Northern Michigan Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Michael Doan (L, 4-8-2)||45:31||5||18||21||2||41|
|Michigan Tech Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Jamie Phillips (W, 24-7-2)||60:00||1||7||2||11||20|
HOUGHTON, Mich. - Senior co-captain Blake Pietila scored a pair of goals while classmates Jimmy Davis and David Johnstone added assists to lift the fourth-ranked Huskies to a 5-1 victory over archrival Northern Michigan on Friday (March 6).
Tech's win coupled with Minnesota State's loss at Bemidji State puts the Huskies one point behind the Mavericks in the race for the WCHA regular season title and the MacNaughton Cup.
The Huskies improved to 25-8-2 overall and 20-5-2 in the WCHA. The team's six seniors were honored on the ice after the game as Davis, Blake Hietala, Johnstone, Tanner Kero, Pietila and Riley Sweeney played their final regular season home game.
"It was a big win for us," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "Northern has a lot to play for and they played hard. We were ready to go from the get-go and some pucks found the back of the net.
"I'm really proud and happy for our seniors. They've done a great job for this team and have taken this program to new heights. We just can't thank them enough for what they've done."
The two teams scored the first three goals in a span of 70 seconds. Pietila buried his 12th of the year 11:00 into the game to get the 3,947 fans at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena on their feet. A shot from the blue line by Davis bounced off the boards behind the net out to a wide-open Pietila.
NMU (14-15-6, 11-12-4 WCHA) quickly knotted it up 39 seconds later as Shane Shooth found the back of the net. Dominik Shine and Reed Seckel assisted on the Wildcats' only goal of the night.
Cliff Watson was the beneficiary of another big bounce as he scored his third goal of the season 31 seconds later for the go-ahead tally. CJ Eick took the initial shot that rebounded out to Watson who flipped in a sharp-angled shot. Watson's defensive partner Shane Hanna added the secondary assist.
The Huskies added to the lead as Tyler Heinonen scored the first of two goals four and a half minutes into the second period. Malcolm Gould found Heinonen wide-open streaking to the net in the middle of the ice. Heinonen went five-hole on NMU goaltender Michael Doan for his ninth of the year. Michael Neville also assisted on the play.
Tech tacked on two more goals early in the third period. Reid Sturos setup Pietila on a 2-on-1 rush at the 3:25 mark. Johnstone added the second assist.
Chris Leibinger took a shot that was tipped into the back of the net by Heinonen at 5:31 for the game's final goal. Gould picked up his second point of the game with an assist.
Tech outshot Northern 51-21. Husky goaltender Jamie Phillips stopped 20 shots, including 11 in the third period. NMU's Doan had 41 saves in the first two and a half periods. Derek Dun had five saves for the 'Cats in relief.
The two teams will wrap up the regular season at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. You can listen to the game as Dirk Hembroff brings you all the action on Mix 93.5 WKMJ and online at Pasty.net. Husky fans in the Upper Peninsula can also watch the game live on Fox UP.
Tech can win the MacNaughton Cup outright and be the WCHA tournament's No. 1 seed with a win and Minnesota State loss on Saturday. The teams can share the cup if Tech gains a point on the Mavericks with a Tech win and MSU tie or Tech tie and MSU loss. The Mavericks hold the tiebreaker over the Huskies and would get the No. 1 seed.
GAME NOTES: The senior class has played in 666 games and is responsible for 380 points...Johnstone (36-61=97) is three points shy of 100 for his career...He has a point in five of his last six games...Pietila has 45 career goals...Tech is again the nation's leader in goals scored (128) this season after the five goals...Tech is tied with North Dakota for the most wins in the country.