Three of four: Huskies earn third win over Chargers 2-1 in overtime
HOUGHTON — Needing to show more fight Saturday night than they had on Friday, the Michigan Tech Huskies hockey team did just that against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. At the end of the night, they still needed extra time to secure a 2-1 win at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
With the win and a second loss in a row by the No. 3 Minnesota State Mavericks, the Huskies returned to the top of the WCHA standings with 29 points.
The Chargers struck first as Jack Jeffers scored his first career goal 9:39 in as he found a hole in Huskies goaltender Robbie Beydoun, who was making his third straight start.
From there, the Chargers clogged the neutral zone much as they had Friday night, and they made that single-goal stand up through 40 minutes.
“It was a repeat for two periods,” said Huskies coach Joe Shawhan. “I really have to say that I’m happy for (Chargers coach) Mike Corbett for the way his team played. You can see the buy-in that they have. They went through some pains early in the year.
“It’s hard to get up ice on them (and) get to the net on them. Their goaltender has been tremendous. There’s a chance that they are going to beat a lot of teams and pick up some points in the second half.”
The Huskies kept the puck on the Alabama-Huntsville side of the ice for much of the middle frame with 11 shots.
Looking for any kind of a break in the Chargers’ defense after 103:15 of not scoring, the Huskies finally broke through.
Freshman defenseman Eric Gotz dug the puck out and got it to classmate Colin Swoyer. Swoyer then found another freshman in winger Tommy Parrottino, who buried a shot past Mark Sinclair, evening the game at 1-1, while the Huskies were on a power play.
The goal was Parrottino’s sixth of the season.
“We got it low, Greyson (Reitmeier) made a good play and then Swoyer picked it up and found me in front, and (i) put it (in) the top left (of the net),” Parrottino said. “That was huge to be the first goal of the weekend. (It) definitely (built) some momentum for us too. I thought we ran the puck (well) and made some quick plays with it too. It was amazing to break that ceiling.”
The Huskies then struck again in overtime as Reitmeier found the net at 1:11 for his fifth of the year, sealing the Huskies’ ninth win in WCHA play.
“That’s the funnest part of the game, scoring goals,” said Parrottino, “so we try to keep up the momentum and keep our minds straight, even when it wasn’t going so well.
“That was exciting too,” said Parrottino about the game-winner. “That was just kind of a broken play (we were) just throwing at (the) net and Greyson tipped it in. It was awesome.”
Reitmeier admitted that Parrottino’s goal opened things up for him later.
“It was a huge thing for momentum,” he said. “We hadn’t scored a goal all weekend, so just knowing that we could score on this guy was huge for us mentally. I think the guys kind of rallied behind that and it seemed to really change the game.”
Shawhan was happy to see Parrottino tie things up, but wants to see his team get back to the fundamentals as they approach the second half of the season.
“Without that we wouldn’t have been in overtime… You want to see your character guys get rewarded and I think we saw a little bit of that tonight,” said Shawhan. “I like that our guys found a way. I think we need some guys to get a little bit back on track to the details of the game, the little things (and) understanding of the game. I think we’re getting away from how we need to focus to play consistently.”
Every point counts, as the Huskies moved one point ahead of the Mavericks with a 9-2-1-1 record in conference play. Shawhan stressed the importance of this win as the second half of the season nears.
“It’s not going to hurt,” he said. “Every point’s big. We still have to get ourselves back together and get ourselves back to (paying) attention to detail. It’s going to be a really interesting second half (of the season).”
Reitmeier was happy that he and his teammates were able to get more accomplished in the offensive zone Saturday.
“I thought we dominated play for the most part,” he said. “We had some good offensive zone time and I think a lot of it was we weren’t taking away the goalie’s eyes. He had a great weekend. You have to give credit to him. I think we just (had) to do more to get in front of him.”
“The message (from Shawhan) was to get bodies (and) pucks to the net,” said Reitmeier, “(to) take away his eyes and make it hard on him. When he was seeing everything he was stopping it.
“I just tried to get in front of the net. “Brotz” (Alec Broetzman) made a good play from the wall. I just tried to get my stick on it. It took a fortunate bounce and went in.”
Corbett gave credit to the Huskies on their win and was still proud of how his team played.
“Same as (Friday) almost, but the good guys won this time,” said Corbett. “We were able to get the first goal. First period pretty even, second period, a little bit of back and forth, they took it to us a little bit more (and) had more of a territorial advantage, but I’m proud of my boys because they came 1-0 going into the third period on the road.
“They didn’t even get a shot,” said Corbett, when asked about the overtime goal. “It was a tip in. I’m proud of my guys. They battled their butts off at the end of the weekend.
“We get a split on the road and we’ll take it.”