Michigan Tech Tops Alaska, 7-1, in WCHA Quarterfinal Opener
Junior defenseman Cliff Watson posts goal and three assists for Huskies

Junior defenseman Cliff Watson scored a goal and three assists for the Huskies
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
1st 8:36  MTU1-0 EV Joel L'Esperance (14)Malcolm Gould/17, Cliff Watson/6
1st 11:05  AKF1-1 EV Tyler Morley (17) -
1st 13:29  MTU2-1 EV GW Dylan Steman (6)Alex Petan/14, Cliff Watson/7
2nd 4:05  MTU3-1 EV Jake Lucchini (7)Max Vallis/5, Matt Roy/13
2nd 13:12  MTU4-1 EV Joel L'Esperance (15)Tyler Heinonen/11, Dylan Steman/7
2nd 14:28  MTU5-1 EV Alex Gillies (4)Jake Lucchini/10, Shane Hanna/16
3rd 7:38  MTU6-1 EV Cliff Watson (2)Tyler Heinonen/12, Dylan Steman/8
3rd 15:24  MTU7-1 EV C.J. Eick (3)Alex Petan/15, Cliff Watson/8
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Alaska  1001
Michigan Tech  2327
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
Alaska  76821
Michigan Tech  17141142
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Alaska (10-21-4)  0/3 4/8 0
Michigan Tech (22-8-5)  0/3 4/8 0
Alaska Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Davis Jones (L, 5-13-1)40:005 1511026
Jesse Jenks20:002 0099
Michigan Tech Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Jamie Phillips (W, 22-7-5)60:001 66820

HOUGHTON, Mich. - Joel L'Esperance scored twice and Cliff Watson had a career-high four points (1-3), while 10 other Michigan Tech players found the score sheet to help the No. 13-ranked Huskies beat Alaska 7-1 in the first game of the best-of-three WCHA playoff series tonight (March 11) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Jake Lucchini (1-1), Dylan Steman (1-1), Tyler Heinonen (0-2) and Alex Petan (0-2) joined L'Esperance and Watson with multi-point efforts as the Huskies posted their second-highest goal total of the season.

"It was an important victory tonight for our team," said head coach Mel Pearson. "You want to get the first one in the win column in a short series, and we played a really good team game. We limited them on scoring opportunities and got some scoring from people who usually don't score. It's important to get that one for us and now we're focused on tomorrow's game."

L'Esperance and Steman found the back of the net in the opening period to give the Huskies a 2-1 edge after 20 minutes. L'Esperance notched his 14th of the 2015-16 campaign 8:36 in when he one-timed a Malcolm Gould pass just inside the far post. After a great play by Watson to hold the line and shovel the puck low, Gould fought off a defender and put a no-look pass on the tape of L'Esperance in the slot, where the winger batted it home.

Alaska tied the game just past the midway point of the period, but Steman answered at 13:29 to put Tech ahead for good. A centering attempt by Petan hit a skate in front and bounced right to Steman in the left circle for a quick put back and 2-1 lead.

Lucchini, L'Esperance and Alex Gillies connected in the second to blow the game open. Lucchini made it 3-1 at 4:05 when he took a feed from Matt Roy as they entered the zone and quickly sent a wrister off the water bottle for his seventh of the year. The second of the game from L'Esperance - this time on a hard shot from high in the slot - made it 4-1 at 13:12, and a redirection from Gillies at the edge of the crease one-minute later gave Michigan Tech a huge cushion entering the final period.

Watson's second of the season 7:38 into the third made it 6-1, and CJ Eick closed the scoring when he blasted a turnaround effort home from the left dot at 15:24.

Shane Hanna and Max Vallis also had assists for the Huskies, who are now 20-0-2 when scoring three or more goals in a game.

Senior netminder Jamie Phillips was solid once again between the pipes and turned in a 20-save performance for his 22nd victory of the year.

Michigan Tech (22-8-5) plays host to Alaska in game two of the best-of-three series tomorrow (March 12) at 7:07 p.m. Tickets to the contest can be purchased at the SDC Ticket Office, online at BuyHuskiesTickets.com or over the phone at 906-487-2073.

NOTES: The Huskies outshot Alaska 42-21 ... Both teams went 0-3 with the man-advantage ... Tech is now 14-2-2 when wearing its black jerseys this winter ... Phillips' win is the 56th of his career, putting him just two behind Bruce Horsch for the all-time Michigan Tech record.