Bliss, Misiak lead Huskies past rival Wildcats 4-3 in OT
HOUGHTON — Knowing the visiting Northern Michigan Wildcats had already played this week, the Michigan Tech Huskies hockey team knew they wanted to jump on the Wildcats early and often.
The Huskies did just that, scoring just under four minutes in and then fighting hard in overtime to earn 4-3 victory Friday night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
The Huskies saw junior winger Tommy Parrottino score his first goal of the season, assistant captain Trenton Bliss scored a goal and two assists and senior center Justin Misiak picked up two assists in the win.
In all, it was a strong night for three of the Huskies’ veterans, whom head coach Joe Shawhan is looking for big things from if the Huskies (3-3-1) are going to compete for a home playoff spot moving forward. However, he felt that his team let off the gas late in the third period, which allowed the Wildcats to pull even late, in part due to some concern over how the game was called, especially in the third period.
“Northern Michigan is a good hockey team,” Shawhan said. “They play hard and fast. I think the looseness (on our part) came on the fact of the concern with the officiating. I think that we backed off because we were worried what could happen, I believe.”
Bliss was involved in helping the Huskies get the win in overtime when he drove to the net and fired a shot that Nolan Kent stopped. The rebound kicked to junior defenseman Colin Swoyer, who fired a shot of his own. The puck bounced out again and junior winger Brian Halonen tucked it home with just 1:55 left on the clock.
For Bliss, getting involved in the offense was important for him.
“For me, at least, it’s just about getting that first one, kind of getting the monkey off my back,” Bliss said. “This year we need players like myself, Tom and Bots (Alec Broetzman) to have big years offensively if we want to win games.”
Parrottino was in the right place at the right time to get the Huskies on the board just 3:50 into the contest.
Misiak blocked a clearing attempt by NMU. The puck bounced over to Bliss, who knocked it to the ice and then drove to the net through the right side of the slot. His wrist shot beat Kent with a backhand between the legs, the puck leaked through Kent and Parrottino swooped in to push it over the goal line.
“Misiak made a nice play on the wall,” Parrottino said. “Bliss kind of squeaked it through and I was just kind of in the right place at the right time.”
The Wildcats (1-1) evened things with a wrist shot from David Keefer over Huskies goaltender Blake Pietila 5:49 into the middle frame. However, the tie was short-lived as freshman winger Carson Bantle regained the Huskies’ lead just 16 seconds later.
A Wildcats forward dumped the puck in behind Pietila. He set the puck up for Swoyer swooping from his left. The junior defenseman drove up the right boards and wired a pass over to Bantle, who beat Kent with a wrist shot through the legs.
The game settled down from there as both teams started to pick up the physical play. Neither team could get much near the net until the late stages of the period when the Huskies pushed their lead to two.
With another strong shift in the offensive zone, Misiak got to a puck and fed it from the right boards over to Bliss, who was skating into the slot. Bliss wasted little time firing a long wrist shot that hit the Wildcats’ Mikey Colella’s stick, knocking it out of his hands, and beat Kent at 15:49.
The Wildcats got one back very early in the third when Vincent De May drew a penalty shot just 23 seconds in by forcing a Huskies defender to pull him down as he drove through the slot. On the ensuing 1-on-1 with Pietila, De May cut from left to right, deked to his forehand and Pietila over the glove.
Keeping the pressure mounting late in the third, the Wildcats evened the game with just 8.1 seconds left. A shot from Griffin Loughran hit a referee behind the net and kicked out to A.J. Vanderbeck in the slot. He quickly buried the puck behind Pietila, forcing overtime.
Both teams face off again at 6:07 p.m. Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.