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Looking to end their 12-game losing streak, the Michigan Tech Huskies played host to their local rivals, the Northern Michigan Wildcats. Neither team could muster much in the way of offense, but both broke through in the second period to earn a 1-1 tie in a rare Tuesday night matchup at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“I thought the kids came out and played hard for 60 minutes,” said Huskies’ coach Jamie Russell. “I thought the guys were very committed in terms of the little things.”
Huskies’ center Eric Kattelus had the best chance for the hosts to score early in the first period, but his one-timer off a pass from junior defenseman Deron Cousens was stopped by Wildcats’ netminder Brian Stewart.
“I thought both goalies played well,” said Wildcats’ coach Walt Kyle. “I thought we were sluggish early [in the game].”
The Huskies (3-18-1 overall) earned three power-play opportunities over the course of the opening frame, but only managed to get two shots on Stewart during those chances. In fact, the Wildcats had a couple of great chances of their own on the Huskies’ advantages.
Andrew Cherniwchan had one solid scoring chance for the Wildcats (9-8-5 overall), skating the puck up the ice and firing on Huskies’ goaltender Kevin Genoe from the high slot. Matt Butcher had the other, cutting in close to Genoe, but running out of room before taking a shot. Genoe finished with 33 saves.
Junior Bennett Royer, playing in just his third game since returning to the Huskies’ lineup, broke the scoreless tie at 12:24 of the middle frame with a blast from the circle to Stewart’s right. The goal was Royer’s second in as many games.
“I’m just playing the way I’ve been playing this year,” said Royer. “Gwilliam and Evan Witt went to the net hard and had really good traffic. I just happened to find a spot to go in.”
The lead was short-lived however, as Phil Fox took a pass from Justin Florek and buried the puck behind Genoe. The goal, which came at 13:34, was the direct result of Florek’s interception of a clearing attempt by the Huskies.
With sophomore winger Alex MacLeod, Kattelus nearly helped the Huskies regain the lead short-handed, as he and assistant captain Jordan Baker cut in on Stewart. Kattelus threaded the needle with a pass to Baker, but Baker’s shot was stopped by a sprawling Stewart.
Fox had two chances to score to open the third period, but Genoe was equal to the task, stopping both. He made nine more before the period was over.
Stewart made two of his 11 saves in the third on Royer and MacLeod, as MacLeod’s initial shot and Royer’s rebound chance were both stopped. He finished with 32 saves.
In overtime, Genoe made a tremendous stop to keep the game even, as Florek tipped a shot from T.J. Miller at the left point.
Both teams finished zero-for-five on the man advantage.