Huskies second in CCHA after sweep of Wildcats
MARQUETTE — No. 13 Michigan Tech swept rival Northern Michigan with a 4-1 win Saturday at the Berry Events Center. The Huskies improved to 18-7-4 overall and 11-5-4 with their third straight win over the Wildcats. Tech moved into second in the CCHA standings, three points behind Minnesota State.
“I thought our third period was very structured like last night,” Tech coach Joe Shawhan said on his 60th birthday. “Northern Michigan had some really good chances early but Blake was Blake. I think we got better and better as the game went on, and everyone in the lineup played well.”
Tied at one midway through the second period, Arvid Caderoth scored the eventual game-winner at 8:04 with a backhanded setup feed from Logan Ganie. David Jankowski also assisted on Caderoth’s second of the season.
“It was a really good play by Janko and Ganie, and it was an easy shot for me,” Caderoth said.
Parker Saretsky made it a two-goal game with 1:25 left in the second period. Tristan Ashbrook chipped it to Saretsky behind the net, and he wrapped it around and tucked it under the goaltender for his sixth goal of the season. Jack Works added the second assist on a dump-in after Ryan O’Connell kept it in the zone.
Ryland Mosley scored an empty-netter with 6.2 seconds left to seal the win and send the sellout crowd to the exits. Parker Saretsky assisted after blocking a shot and dropping it over to Mosley for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
“We have a big one at Bemidji and they have some games to make up, and then we have Bowling Green for Winter Carnival,” Saretsky said. “We need to come ready to work every day and the rest will take care of itself.”
Logan Pietila opened scoring with his second of the weekend and ninth of the season 14:08 into the game. Mosley took a shot from the half wall and Pietila dove and put in the rebound five-hole to extend his point streak to four games. Chris Lipe also assisted on Pietila’s 30th career goal.
NMU (12-14, 8-10 CCHA) tied it up 2:40 into the second period on a goal by Joey Larson from Kristof Papp and Artem Shlaine.
The Huskies led in shots 34-27. Blake Pietila earned his 17th win with 26 saves, stopping 46-of-47 shots on the weekend to earn his 12th career win over NMU. Beni Halasz made 30 saves for the home team.
Each team was 0-for-2 on the power play.
Huskies shutout Wildcats Friday in front of a sellout
HOUGHTON — The Huskies shutout their rivals, the Wildcats, 3-0 Friday in front of a sellout crowd at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Blake Pietila earned his third straight Friday shutout and tied his single-season shutout record with his seventh of the season.
“I thought it was a good hockey game. Northern’s a good hockey team, and we did a pretty good job containing their skilled guys,” Shawhan said. “We have seven games left against top-caliber teams. Any points we can get from here on out are so important for home ice.”
For the second home game in a row against NMU, Tyrone Bronte opened the scoring in the second period. He found himself wide open in front of the net and Nick Nardella found him from behind the net for his third of the season and eighth of his career.
“I got great linemates and they read it perfectly,” Bronte said. “Nardella put it right on my stick. I guess I like that net against NMU.”
Twins Logan and Blake Pietila were celebrating their birthday Friday and both made clutch plays in the game. Logan made it 2-0 with only 2:29 left in the third period with a great individual play. He gathered a loose puck in the crease and shot between his legs for his eighth of the season and 29th of his career. Kyle Kukkonen and Ryland Mosley assisted.
NMU pulled its goaltender late in the third, and Kyle Kukkonen scored in the empty net for his 10th of the season from Mosley for a 3-0 lead with 22.8 seconds left.
Blake Pietila made five saves in the first, eight in the second, and seven in the third for his school-record 17th career shutout. His biggest stop came 6:00 into the game as Aiden Gallacher stepped out of the penalty box on a breakaway. The shot went five-hole but Blake closed his pads and kept it out. Pietila’s seven shutouts this season leads the nation.
“This was one of the best games we’ve played this season as a team,” Blake Pietila said. “It’s a little harder only getting 20 shots, but the guys have been playing so well in front of me.”
“There’s no player in the country more valuable than Blake is to our team,” Shawhan said. “His family and relatives are from here, and having someone of Blake’s caliber and ability is great for our community.”
Tech led in shots 36-20. Halasz stopped 33 shots for the visitors.
Neither team scored on the power play with NMU having four chances and Tech three.