HOUGHTON, Mich. — In an unexpected show of offense, the Michigan Tech Huskies exploded for four first-period goals and junior forward Peter Rouleau netted his first career hat trick to help the Huskies to a 9-0 victory over the visiting Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Friday night.
The hat trick was the first by a Husky since Chris Conner did the deed on October 25, 2003, against St. Cloud State.
“The guys did a really good job,” said Huskies head coach Jamie Russell. “Our power play is coming along, and I was really happy for (Michael-Lee) Teslak between the pipes.”
Domination was the name of the game and the Huskies did just that from the opening faceoff, dumping the puck deep into the Seawolves zone and keeping the pressure on as best they could. The Seawolves appeared shellshocked, as they couldn’t even register a shot on net until the 7:28 mark when freshman defenseman Trevor Hunt put one on net from beyond the blueline.
“Tech made a statement in regards to how they play,” said Seawolves head coach Dave Shyiak.
Rouleau got the Huskies on the board at 14:27 when he intercepted a pass at center ice, blew past a Seawolf defender and beat goaltender Nathan Lawson on the breakaway, all while shorthanded.
With Seawolf defenseman Mat Robinson off for tripping, Rouleau struck again. Lawson made the first stop on co-captain Lars Helminen, but the puck squirted out to Rouleau, who put a backhand shot up and over Lawson at 16:12.
“Peter (Rouleau) is really confident with the puck right now,” said Russell.
Gagne gave the Huskies a three-goal lead just 14 seconds later as Lawson was bowled over by one of his own defenders, leaving a loose puck in the crease, which Gagne buried. Junior forward Tyler Shelast assisted on the goal.
“I didn’t expect to get off to such a quick start,” said Gagne. “I think that I’m getting better every game.”
The Seawolves finally got in close on Teslak when freshman forward Josh Lunden walked in alone, but he fired the puck up over the net with 32 seconds left in the first period.
The Huskies responded to the big save by speeding down the ice with Gagne and freshman forward Phil Axtell breaking in two on one. Gagne fed Axtell, who found the back of the net at 19:48 to extend the Husky lead again. Shelast also assisted on the goal.
“I just drove the net and got a perfect feed,” said Axtell.
Shyiak went to freshman goaltender Jon Olthuis for just the second time this season in the second period, but the outcome didn’t get much better for the Seawolves.
“We wanted to shake things up,” said Shyiak.
Skating back to make a defensive play, Huskies junior forward Jimmy Kerr picked up the loose puck and fed it back toward a waiting Ryan Angelow. The speedy sophomore broke in alone and beat Olthuis low to the glove side to extend the Husky lead to five goals.
Rouleau completed the hat trick with a rebound goal at the 18:08 mark of the second period. Rouleau had set up sophomore forward Justin St. Louis, who bury the puck, but was able to push it back into the crease area, where Rouleau could pounce on it.
“When you got the hot hand, everyone told me to keep shooting,” said Rouleau. “It was great to find out that the crowd was chanting my name.”
The Mitch’s Misfits had honored Rouleau with a rousing, “We love Rouleau”.
The hat trick was the also the first at home by a Husky since Colin Murphy netted four goals against Northern Michigan on October 18, 2003.
In the third period, the rout was on as the Huskies found the net three more times.
Kerr was finally rewarded with his first goal of the season on the power play just 1:28 into the period. Kerr was in the right place at the right time as he redirected a shot from junior defenseman Jake Wilkens into the net behind Olthuis.
Gagne netted his second goal of the game at the 10:14 mark as he netted a rebound goal off a shot from Shelast. Sophomore forward Malcolm Gwilliam also assisted on the tally.
Local product, and sophomore, Derek Kitti iced the game for the Huskies when he buried the puck into the net at the 11:25 mark. Axtell assisted on the play.
The Huskies scored nine goals for the first time since February 14, 2004, when they scored nine at Anchorage in a 9-4 win.
Teslak came up with 22 saves for his first career shutout. It was the first by a Husky since January 7, 2005, at Denver, when Cam Ellsworth was in net for a 3-0 win.
The Huskies finished two for six on the power play while holding the Seawolves to zero for four.
The attendance for the game was 2,357.
The last time the Huskies had a three game win streak was from January 18-22, 2005, when MTU beat Notre Dame and swept Minnesota in Minneapolis.