|1st||15:02||MTU||1-0||PP||Brent Baltus (4)||Matt Roy/5|
|2nd||0:59||AKF||1-1||PP||Tyler Morley (7)||-|
|2nd||12:19||MTU||2-1||PP GW||Tyler Heinonen (9)||Alex Petan/7, Malcolm Gould/5|
|3rd||19:03||MTU||3-1||EV EN||Alex Petan (6)||Alex Gillies/2|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Michigan Tech (9-4-1)||2/6||5/10||0|
|Michigan Tech Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Jamie Phillips (W, 9-4-1)||59:59||1||9||7||11||27|
|Jesse Jenks (L, 2-2-2)||58:59||2||12||5||7||24|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Michigan Tech Huskies used two power play goals to defeat the Alaska Nanooks hockey team 3-1, for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep on Saturday at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
"Tonight was a tough loss," Assistant Coach Lance West described of the overall game. "Going into tonight's game, we wanted to see how our team would respond by competing, battling and having a better attitude and I think our guys responded well. I think we gave ourselves some great opportunities in the third period, coming into it with some quality chances, but at the end of the day, they are a good hockey team, we are a good hockey team, they just found a way to get an extra power play goal on us tonight."
Saturday's loss drops the Nanooks to a 4-8-2 record overall (2-6-2 WCHA), while the Huskies improve to 9-4-1 overall (8-4-0 WCHA). Michigan Tech slides into first place in the WCHA standings with 18 points, with Alaska dropping to ninth place in the WCHA with six points.
Freshman goaltender Jesse Jenks saved 24 shots on the night, while Michigan Tech's senior goaltender Jamie Phillips stopped 27 shots. The Nanooks came out firing the puck, outshooting their opponent (28-27) for the first time since Oct. 17 (RPI 4-2 win).
"Jesse is playing calm and composed; he's obviously made a jump and been really good for us. He's given us an opportunity in just about every game he's played so far, playing to win. Last night, we didn't play to win but he gave us a chance to win going into the third period, so you can't ask much more from him," West said of the freshman.
Power play goals turned out to be the deciding factor in tonight's league contest, as both teams capitalized on the man-advantage, with Michigan Tech going 2-6 on the power play, while Alaska concluded the night going 1-4.
"It's frustrating. You give yourself a chance to win, especially when everyone's working hard, but in the end, our penalty kill needs to get better," West explained. "Our effort on the PK is there, we just need to get in the way a little bit more, whether it'll be guys coming through low or the second wave blocking shots. It's something we will continue to work on, but at least our effort is there. "
Michigan Tech's junior forward Brent Baltus opened the scoring at 15:02 in the first period, walking off the wall at the top of the Nanooks defensive zone and rifling it on net to make it 1-0 Huskies. Baltus' fourth goal of the season was assisted by sophomore defenseman Matt Roy.
At the beginning of the second period, Alaska and Michigan Tech were playing 4-on-4 hockey when senior forward Tyler Morley caught a break in the neutral zone before recognizing he was on a 1-on-1 with a MTU trailer coming behind him. Morley cut back on the Husky defenseman and used him as a screen, before making it 1-1 with an upstairs wrist shot. Morley's seventh goal of the season came right as freshman defenseman Jordan Burns' penalty expired, marking Morley's second power play goal of the season.
Michigan Tech answered back at the 12:19 mark of the second period, when junior forward Tyler Heinonen collected a power play goal to make it 2-1 MTU. Heinonen tipped in senior forward Alex Petan's shot from the point, with the secondary assist awarded to senior forward Malcolm Gould.
The Nanooks were all over the Huskies in the third period, creating odd-man rushes and crashing Phillips hard, pulling Jenks at the 18:50 mark, trying to capitalize with the extra attacker. Unfortunately, Michigan Tech's Petan caught a break at his own defensive blue line and was able to seal the victory with the empty net goal, making it 3-1 Huskies.
The Nanooks continue their homestead at the Carlson Center, by taking on the Lake Superior Lakers in another two-game WCHA series. Puck-drop is set for both Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:07 pm AST. Next weekend's games will also be Hometown Heroes night and the annual Teddy Bear Toss on during Saturday's game.
"I think this next week will be focusing on us more than them, continuing to get better, focusing on what we have to do, whether that be playing with more pace and get pucks deeper. If we can get better in some small areas, everything will take care of itself," West concluded.