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Gears Shifting: ‘Grind Line’ Carries Tech

UAA Struggles Continue After MTU's Third-Period Outburst

— The Grind Line came through for Michigan Tech once again.

Senior Chris Durno had a goal and two assists in the third period as the Huskies broke open a 1-1 tie and skated to a 4-2 victory over Alaska-Anchorage on Friday night at MacInnes Arena.

The line of Durno, Frank Werner and Greg Amadio had five points in the final period.

“I’m really happy for those three kids, because they won this game,” Sertich said.

Colin Murphy scored in the first period for Tech (6-13-4, 3-9-3 WCHA), and Martin Stuchlink scored in the second period for UAA (1-15-7, 0-13-6), making it 1-1 heading into the third.

“The puck seemed to be bouncing around a lot,” Durno said. “In the third, it sat down on our sticks.”

And started going in the net.

Werner started the rally 2:50 into the third when his shot from a seemingly impossible angle eluded UAA goaltender Chris King, giving Tech a 2-1 lead.

“It’s a shot that goalies don’t expect a lot,” Werner said. “I caught him off-guard.”

The floodgates had opened as Durno followed with his sixth goal of the season at 7:45 and Justin Brown with his first of the season at 9:04, making it 4-1.

“We got a little bit of luck on two of those goals,” said Durno, who extended his career-high point streak to five games. “But it was just going to the net hard and finishing our checks.”

Meanwhile, the Seawolves’ misery continued. UAA, which hasn’t won since a season-opening victory over Alaska-Fairbanks on Oct. 11, has been stung by the staggered suspensions of 13 players who used scholarship money to buy textbooks for other students, a violation of NCAA rules.

Recent fluke injuries to freshman Spencer Carbery and sophomore Pavel Hlavacek have made the situation even worse. Carbery broke his foot when he was struck by a shot from an assistant coach in practice. Hlavacek was injured when a sign from the scoreboard at Sullivan Arena fell and hit him on the foot during warm-ups before last Friday’s 11-3 loss to North Dakota.

In addition, senior Petr Chytka, one of the team’s leading scorers a year ago, was kicked off the team a couple weeks ago. As a result of the various circumstances, coach John Hill didn’t even bring enough guys to Houghton to dress a full lineup. He used only five defensemen and didn’t have any spares in the stands like usual.

“John’s a good friend of mine, but there’s not much sympathy in this league,” Sertich said. “I’ll have sympathy for him in July.”

King made 40 saves for UAA. Cam Ellsworth, the national defensive player of the week after making 94 saves last weekend, had 34 stops for the Huskies.

Tech played without junior forward Jon Pittis and freshman defenseman John Scott. Both are out with shoulder injuries but could return in time for next weekend’s home series with St. Cloud.

Freshman forward Brandon Schwartz, who hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury Dec. 13 at Northern Michigan, returned to the lineup. Meanwhile, sophomore forward Ryan Markham played for the first time in more than month, and redshirt freshman Phil Pietila played in his fifth consecutive game after sitting out the first 18 games of the season.

The teams conclude the series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at MacInnes Arena.

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