HOUGHTON - In a sneak preview performance Saturday at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena, the Michigan Tech hockey team and its newest players debuted to a review of 'two thumbs up.'
Freshmen scored four of Tech's goals, three by Alex Petan, as the Huskies dispatched Brock University of Ontario 6-2 in an exhibition.
"In the (locker) room everyone was so jacked up to get on the ice. We were just so excited we couldn't move our feet any faster than we could," Petan, from Delta, B.C., said.
Michigan Tech’s Alex Petan looks for an opening along the boards during Saturday’s exhibition game against Brock at MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Petan had a hat trick in the Huskies’ 6-2 victory. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
Petan's three goals came on three very different plays: Goal one, Tech's second of the night, came at 14:49 of the first after Brock goalie Adrian Volpe coughed up a rebound on Ryan Furne's shot and the Badger defense could not clear.
"It was fortunate the puck kind of slipped out there and I think the D-man kind of panicked and just threw it out in the middle of the slot. Fortunately, I was at the right place at the right time. I saw the goalie kind of out of position on the left side, so I knew the right side was open, so I just threw it there and it was fortunate to get in," he said.
Petan got his second at 6:04 of the second period, tipping a Furne point shot through Brock goalie Kody Blois' five-hole for the eventual game-winner. His hat trick goal came 20 seconds into the third after Blake Pietila led an odd-man rush. His shot was stopped but not covered and Petan poked it in. Both of the last two goals were on the power play.
Brock0 1 1 - 2
Tech2 3 1 - 6
First period - 1, Tech, Blake Pietila (Milos Gordic, Daniel Sova), 8:04; 2, Tech, Alex Petan (Ryan Furne), 14: 49; Penalties - Brock, Josh Schram (roughing), 8:24; Brock, Dan Dooley (roughing), 8:24; Tech, Riley Sweeney (boarding), 8:24; Tech, Juhjar Khaira (roughing), 8:24; Brock, Milan Doczy (hooking), 11:01; Tech, Justin Fillion (high sticking), 16:33.
Second period - 3, Brock, Andrew Boudreau (Jordan Gignac, C.J. Dickson), 1:21; 4, Tech, Petan (Furne, David Johnstone), 6:04 (PP); 5, Tech, Khaira (unassisted), 15:44; 6, Tech, D. Johnstone (Malcolm Gould, Sweeney), 18:06. Penalties - Brock, Gignac (roughing), 5:36; Brock, Thomas Stajan (tripping), 19:49.
Third period - 7, Tech, Petan (B. Pietila, D. Johnstone), :20 (PP); 8, Brock, Boudreau (Stajan), 14:42. Penalties - Brock, Dickson (checking from behind and game misconduct), 5:16; Brock, Dooley (slashing), 15:38.
Goalies - Brock, Adrian Volpe (16 shots, 14 saves), Kody Blois (31 shots, 27 saves); Tech, Pheonix Copley (seven shots, seven saves), Jamie Phillips (12 shots, 11 saves), Kevin Genoe (nine shots, eight saves).
"No, I was not surprised to see how well he's played. We've seen him in the last couple weeks of practice, he's an exceptionally skilled player. He has great vision. More importantly, he works hard with all that talent and skill he has, too," Tech coach Mel Pearson said.
Though Petan's hat trick made the most headlines, Pearson appeared pleased with the performance of all 24 players to see action.
"We shook some of the rust off, so that's what we were hoping to use it for, and I'm happy with the outcome and how we played overall," he said.
oster and played all three of its goaltenders for a period apiece.
The Huskies controlled much of the play territorially, though the Badgers did provide a challenge. After Blake Pietila and Petan put Tech up 2-0 after a period, Brock pulled a goal back just 1:21 into the second period, with Andrew Boudreau beating Jamie Phillips on his first shot faced. However, Petan's second goal came about five minutes later and tallies from freshman Juhjar Khaira and sophomore David Johnstone followed to essentially put the outcome out of reach.
Khaira's goal was a beauty, as he won a face-off to himself, kicked the puck from skate to skate, handled the puck gracefully while charging to the net, then flipped a backhander over Blois' shoulder into the roof of the net.
"Before I went out there coach Pearson said try walking the guy off the draw. I'd say there was a lot of luck in that it worked out really well," Khaira said.
"We were always trying to draw it back tonight, so I told him to go ahead with it in the offensive zone and try to draw the defenseman and then move the puck back door to Alex Petan," Pearson said. "Their defenseman stayed with Alex but J.J. went ahead and made a real good play at the net. Sometimes it doesn't always work like you drew it up, but, nonetheless, it was, I thought, a good goal, and it's good for J.J. to have some success."
Johnstone's goal was also helped greatly by a freshman, as Malcolm Gould hit him with a pinpoint pass from the opposite wall, giving him a yawning cage to tap the puck into.
Freshman goaltender Pheonix Copley got the start, stopping all seven shots he faced. Classmate Jamie Phillips stopped 11 of 12 in the second period and senior Kevin Genoe made eight saves in the third.
"The plan was to play them all and I thought all three of them did a good job," Pearson said. "It's going to take some time for that goaltending situation to sort itself out, but I was very pleased with all three of them."
Boudreau scored both goals for Brock, which went on to lose 2-0 at Northern Michigan Sunday.
The stats and results start counting Thursday for the Huskies, who travel to Lake Superior State for the first leg of a home-and-home. Pearson said many of the line combinations and defense pairings will remain similar to Saturday's line-up, though he's not sure which of the goaltending trio will start the opener.
"I think I learned we're gonna be OK in goal, I like our goaltenders. We're gonna be able to score some goals. I think the freshmen are gonna be able to add some offense to our team. We're gonna have a deep team. We're gonna have a lot of guys who can come in here and play, so I like our depth," Pearson said.