Michigan Tech beats Ferris State 5-2 to capture MacInnes Cup
HOUGHTON — After Friday night’s 3-2 loss to the Ferris State Bulldogs, Michigan Tech Huskies coach Mel Pearson suggested that if they continued to play the way they did offensively, pucks would eventually go in for them.
Saturday night, his words rang true, as the Huskies scored five goals for the first time since Jan. 27 in a 5-2 victory over the Ferris State Bulldogs at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Assistant captain Reid Sturos led the charge for the Huskies with a pair of goals. In helping the Huskies win their fifth-straight MacInnes Cup as Winter Carnival champions, Sturos earned Most Valuable Player honors.
While the individual honor was nice, Sturos was more concerned with helping the Huskies out of the three-game losing streak they came into the night with.
“It was nice,” said Sturos. “This was our class’ fourth year winning [Winter Carnival], so it was nice getting the win and beating that losing streak. We came out and played and found the back of the net tonight.”
With the pair of goals, Sturos improved his total to eight this season, the most since he was a freshman. His first came at 14 minutes, 59 seconds of the opening frame with the Huskies up 1-0 already. He took a pass from assistant captain Michael Neville, made a power move to get to the front of the net and then, as he lost his balance after hitting Bulldogs goaltender Justin Kapelmaster’s stick, he slid the puck between Kapelmaster’s legs for the goal.
Pearson liked the effort throughout the night by Sturos’ line.
“Reid played strong,” said Pearson. “Good for Reid, because he had some good opportunities [Friday]. That line played well in that Mike Neville, Reid Sturos and Jake Jackson really created some good opportunities. They played strong.”
Sturos’ second goal came just 10 seconds after senior Chris Leibinger had put the game out of reach for the Bulldogs on a strong individual effort where he fought off a Bulldogs defender and deposited the puck into an empty net at 18:55 of the third.
Of the ensuing faceoff, Sturos and Neville pressured a Bulldogs defender into turning the puck over. Sturos took a pass from Neville, skated into the offensive zone and caught Kapelmaster heading for the bench a second time and his wrist shot beat the Bulldogs’ netminder back to the crease.
Despite Sturos’ two goals and the empty-netter from Leibinger, the game was eerily similar to Friday’s. In Friday’s game, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, saw the Huskies cut that in half, then got up 3-1, only to have the Huskies cut the lead in half again.
The Huskies (17-12-7 overall, 14-6-6-3 WCHA) jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 6:10 in on what appeared to be a very innocent play. After goaltender Angus Redmond made a save, the rebound bounced out to defenseman Matt Roy. Roy fed the puck ahead to winger Thomas Beretta, who made sure to get to the red line before dumping the puck into the offensive zone. Beretta flipped the puck high in the air and when it crashed down to the ice, it took a strange hop and bounced through Kapelmaster.
The Bulldogs (10-17-4 overall, 9-12-3-2 WCHA) had relied on Kapelmaster Friday night to make 39 saves to earn the win. Saturday night, they asked him to stop fewer shots, and that effort made coach Bob Daniels happy, despite the loss.
“I actually felt we played a better game tonight than we did last night,” said Daniels. “Tonight I was happier with our performance. I’m just not as happy with the outcome.”
The Bulldogs cut the Huskies’ lead to 2-1 just 5:48 into the second period when Mitch Maloney and Andrew Dorantes hooked up on a give-and-go, and Maloney beat Redmond with a backhand.
For the second straight night, the Huskies earned over 30 seconds of 5-on-3 power play late in the second period. Pearson used his timeout to ensure everyone was on the same page and that decision proved smart as defenseman Mitch Reinke faked a shot from the high slot before feeding it to winger Tyler Heinonen at the back door for the one-timed goal at 16:47.
Pearson was pleased with not just the timing of the goal, but also the fact that it was Heinonen who scored it.
“That was a big goal,” said Pearson. “It was good to see Tyler score. I thought he had a good game last night, and I thought he had another strong game tonight.”
The Bulldogs cut the Huskies to one again just 1:04 into third period when captain Jared VanWormer drove a one-timer of his own past Redmond on another Ferris State power play.
Redmond made 20 saves to earn the victory.
Ferris State 0 1 1 – 2
Michigan Tech 2 1 2 – 5
1, MTU, Thomas Beretta (Matt Roy, Angus Redmond), 6:10
2, MTU, Reid Sturos (Michael Neville, Jake Jackson), 14:59
3, FSU, Mitch Maloney (Andrew Dorantes, Ryan Lowney), PP, 5:48
4, MTU, Tyler Heinonen (Mitch Reinke, Shane Hanna), PP, 16:47
5, FSU, Jared VanWormer (Gerald Mayhew, Corey Mackin), PP, 1:04
6, MTU, Chris Leibinger, 18:55
7, MTU, Sturos (Michael Neville), 19:05
FSU, Kapelmaster 7 9 6 – 22
MTU, Redmond 9 6 5 – 20
FSU: 4/8; MTU: 6/12
FSU: 2/6; MTU: 1/4