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HOUGHTON, Mich. — Friday night, No. 13 Michigan Tech used key efforts from their seniors to win its final home game of the regular season over rival Northern Michigan 4-0.
With the shutout, senior Jamie Phillips became the first Huskies goaltender to shut out the Wildcats at home.
“It is a big win on Senior Night,” said Phillips. “That was our goal, for those seniors who played. All we wanted to do was to go out with a win, especially against a team like Northern.”
Both teams had early chances, but neither could get anything of quality until about three and a half minutes in when MTU’s C.J. Eick had the puck to NMU goalie Mathias Dahlstrom’s left. He passed across the crease to Malcolm Gould, but his shot was stopped by the outstretched arm of Dalhlstrom. Eick got the rebound, but hit the post to Dahlstrom’s right.
On the next shift, the Huskies continued the pressure and were rewarded. Jake Lucchini fed the puck to Brent Baltus as he skated near the Wildcats’ net. Baltus quickly dropped the puck to a waiting Alex Petan and the Huskies’ co-captain drilled a shot off the left post and in at 4:30.
“I am really happy and proud for the seniors,” said Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson. “It was all about them tonight. Overall, I thought our team played well. We got some big goals, some timely goals when we needed them.”
A minute and a half later, the Wildcats (15-13-7 overall, 12-10-5 WCHA) had a great scoring chance when Darren Nowick outmuscled Mark Auk. Nowick fired a quick shot that Phillips stopped. The rebound was corralled by the Wildcats and moved out to the right point where Zach Urban unleashed a blast that Phillips stopped as well.
The Huskies (20-8-5 overall, 17-7-3 WCHA) were awarded a major power play when Nowick was whistled for checking from behind. Instead of getting good scoring chances of their own, the Huskies found themselves chasing down Dominick Shine, who took a lead pass, skated in alone, deked to his backhand and fired a shot. Phillips tracked him well, but still checked the net to make sure the puck had not slipped through.
“I was actually pretty happy with our first period,” said Wildcats coach Walt Kyle. “We played pretty well in the first. We got behind the eight ball killing penalties. To their credit, they beat us.”
The first five minutes of the second period saw neither team gain an advantage of any sort until the Huskies’ Alex Gillies found Matt Roy at the right point. Roy fed the puck over to Shane Hanna, who fired a shot that Dahlstrom knocked away.
The Wildcats were given a second power play and nearly found the net when Robbie Payne fed the puck across the slot to Shane Sooth, whose quick shot was stopped by Phillips. Right after the power play ended, the Wildcats had another good chance when Anthony Paskaruk attempted a stuff play to Phillips’ left. Fortunately for the Huskies, Phillips hugged the post, keeping the puck out.
The Huskies scored their second goal of the night late in the second period. Gillies fed the puck to Lucchini for a chance to Dahlstrom’s right. His shot rebounded out into the slot where Baltus backhanded a shot over Dahlstrom at 16:18.
Michigan Tech struck again during a 4-on-4 situation right off a faceoff. Mike Neville won the draw back to Hanna. Hanna backpedaled along the blue line before feeding the puck to Roy, who unloaded a blast that beat Dahlstrom at 18:12.
On a four-on-three power play after the goal, the Wildcats had one last chance in the middle frame when Brock Maschmeyer wired a shot that beat Phillips, but not the crossbar.
The Huskies had another power play early in the third period and took advantage quickly. Auk got the puck at the left point. He fed it over to Lucchini in the right circle. Lucchini waited and then wired a wrist shot that beat Dahlstrom over the right shoulder at 3:41.
That ended Dahlstrom’s night as Atte Tolvanen stepped in as relief.
Tolvanen was tested a couple of minutes later when Auk fired a shot from the right point. The rebound kicked to Gillies, but his backhand try was also stopped.
The Wildcats took another penalty when Shine ran over Phillips. During the penalty kill, the visitors had the best scoring chance as Gerard Hanson skated down the ice alone, but his wrist shot was stopped by Phillips.
Michigan Tech had 1:09 of a five-on-three power play in the latter stages of the final frame, but could not get more than a couple of shots through to Tolvanen.