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The Michigan Tech hockey team has been waiting for winger Tyler Heinonen, a notoriously streaky scorer, to break out of his funk. The senior did just that Friday night as the Huskies went toe-to-toe with No. 20 Minnesota State.
Both teams carried two-goal leads at various points of the night, but the game ended in a 4-4 tie.
The Mavericks earned the second WCHA point on a shootout goal from Parker Tuomie in the third round.
“A point means an awful lot in this league,” said Mavericks coach Mike Hastings. “It was kind of a crazy game. That third period was nuts.”
Heinonen was extremely happy to break out of his slump – especially on the power play – but he was even happier to see his linemates, center Jake Lucchini and winger Chris Gerrie, also score.
“We got our power play going,” said Heinonen. “I got a couple of good bounces there. Man, it feels good to put one in the net again.
“Most importantly, I think it was our line tonight (that did well). (Lucchini) had a goal, Gerrie had a goal, and I had two. I think that it is important to get a line going and find a combination that is working.”
Heinonen’s first goal came during with the Huskies on a five-minute major power play. The Huskies drew a second penalty, giving them 1:46 of a 5-on-3 advantage. During the two-man advantage, defenseman Mitch Reinke got the puck at the left point. He skated into the slot and unleashed a shot that Mavericks goaltender Aaron Nelson stopped. The rebound kicked out front to Heinonen and he buried it at 13:50.
“He had a good game,” said Pearson. “I liked the line. Jake Lucchini adds a lot of energy there and Chris Gerrie is a good playmaker. I thought Chris had a good game tonight. When you look at the goal-scorers and you look at that line, they came through for us tonight.”
The goal was Heinonen’s first since Nov. 26 against Alaska.
Heinonen struck again to even the score at 4-4 at the 10:33 mark of the third when he picked up the puck from Gerrie and buried it on another Huskies’ power play.
“(I am) happy for Tyler,” said Pearson. “I thought he had a good game overall, regardless of the goals. He moved his feet better. I thought he was stronger on the puck tonight, got to some dirty areas, did a lot of good things.
“I am happy for him. We are going to need him going forward. It’s good that he is starting to get home. This might be the best time to get hot.”
Gerrie’s tally came in the middle frame. Looking to build off a strong first period, the Huskies were able to add to their lead just 1:18 in when Lucchini had a quality scoring chance from the slot. While his shot was stopped, the rebound kicked back out front where winger Gerrie batted it home.
The goal was his second in as many games.
Lucchini added his goal in the third after Zeb Knutson broke a 2-2 tie wide open with a pair of odd-man rush goals in the third at 5:51 and 7:17. Lucchini got the puck from winger Gavin Gould and skated hard down the right side of the ice. He drove around Sean Flanagan and cut to the front of the net. He slid the puck under Nelson and into the net at 9:16.
Assistant captains Brad McClure and C.J. Franklin scored the other two goals by the Mavericks.
Ferris State 5, No. 18 Bemidji State 2
The Bulldogs played a solid road game, getting five goals from five different players to earn the victory over the Beavers. Gerald Mayhew, Jason Tackett, Chad McDonald, Corey Makin, and Nate Kallen all scored for Ferris State. Justin Kapelmaster made 34 saves to earn the win.
Alaska 3, Bowling Green 2
Two goals in the first period by the Nanooks’ John Mullally and Tyler Cline proved to be too much for the Falcons to come back from over the final 40 minutes of regulation. Marcus Basara also scored for the Nanooks. Mitchell McLain and John Schilling scored for the Falcons.
Northern Michigan 6, Alaska-Anchorage 1
The Wildcats’ offense broke out in a big way as they struck three times in the first and twice in the third as part of a six-goal night. Dominic Shine led the way with a hat trick, scoring a goal in each period. Robbie Payne, Phillip Beaulieu and Connor Frantti also scored for the Wildcats.
Lake Superior 5, Alabama-Huntsville 4
J.T. Henke sandwiched a pair of goals around two by the Chargers to help lift the Lakers to victory. Gus Correale scored shorthanded and Mitch Hults added a pair of goals for the Lakers as well. Four different scorers struck for the Chargers.