Phillips stops 27 as Michigan Tech sweeps Northern Michigan, claims WCHA title share


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Much like Friday night, the No. 13 Michigan Tech Huskies scored a goal early, added two late in the second and added insurance in the third en route to a 5-1 victory over the host Northern Michigan Wildcats at the Berry Events Center.

With Minnesota State’s loss to Bemidji State later Saturday, the Huskies earned a share of their first MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular season champions since 1976 and the top seed in the conference playoffs.

“Every time we can beat Northern, we love it, especially in their building,” said Huskies co-captain Cliff Watson. “Especially for the seniors as well, not just the ones that were on the ice, but the ones who made the trip as well. Any game against Northern it’s hard to hang on to a lead, especially in their barn. They are a hard team to play against.”

The Huskies extended their lead on their second power play of the night. Gould fed the puck to sophomore Matt Roy at the right point, who fired a shot that freshman Jake Lucchini tipped home from the hash marks at 12:49.

Senior Max Vallis extended the Huskies’ lead to 3-0 when he buried a wrap-around at 15:05. Reid Sturos picked up an assist on the play.

“We scored on our chances,” said Huskies coach Mel Pearson. “Our power play was good and our penalty kill was good. All the ingredients you need to have a real good road win we had tonight.”

The Huskies were awarded a power play early in the game and it did not take them long to strike. Junior Tyler Heinonen crashed the net. Sophomore Joel L’Esperance saw him and found him with a well-placed pass for a one-timer that Heinonen buried at 2:22.

The Wildcats (15-14-7 overall, 12-11-5 WCHA) had a great chance to even the game when Gerard Hanson found open space in the slot. He took a pass from Darren Nowick and fired a quick shot, but Phillips made the save.

Phillips was tested again, this time by Filip Starzynski. The sophomore flew into the Huskies’ zone, fired a long shot from the high slot. He picked up his own rebound, and nearly found daylight behind the Huskies’ senior.

“I thought Jamie Phillips was excellent tonight,” said Pearson. “This was one of his better games this year.”

The Vallis wrap-around goal ended Dahlstrom’s night. Atte Tolvanen came in to replace him.

The Wildcats finally broke Phillips’ shutout streak at 142:42 when Cohen Adair wired a wrist shot from left circle that beat Phillips cleanly over the left shoulder at 1:34 of the third period.

The Huskies responded quickly as Sturos took a pass from Watson, and skated the puck into the slot. He outlasted Tolvanen, beating him to the right post with a wrist shot at 2:59.

The Huskies scored their fifth of the night with just 4.4 seconds left in regulation when Petan fed the puck to Shane Hanna at the point, who ripped a slap shot into the back of the net.