MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Michigan Tech Huskies came to Marquette to face off against their rivals, the Northern Michigan Wildcats, for the concluding game of their weekend series. Once gain, the Huskies came out with a one-goal win, topping the Wildcats 1-0 to give them their first weekend sweep over the Wildcats since 1994.
“Getting a win is the thing that feels really good because we haven’t had too many this year,” Huskies’ coach Jamie Russell said. “It just makes it that much sweeter that it was against our biggest rivals in Northern. I have so much respect for Walt Kyle and his staff and the program, but I hate Northern Michigan with a passion and it feels great to beat them.”
“They absolutely deserve the wins,” Wildcats’ coach Walt Kyle said. “They did a great job and were able to score on opportunities when we weren’t. They were solid defensively on both ends of the ice and they beat us.”
The first period went scoreless despite two power plays for Michigan Tech and three for Northern Michigan in a tight, defensive battle that saw few shots.
At 7:41 of the second, Wildcat Ray Kaunisto took a hooking call. The one-man advantage gave the Huskies exactly what they needed to make their way onto the board. At 8:17, the Huskies scored the only goal of the game when Deron Cousins and Alex Gagne gave the puck to Peter Rohn, who put it past Wildcats’ goaltender Brian Stewart.
“Alex made a great play getting the puck to the net and once it bounced out in front of me, my first thought was to bury it,” Rohn said of his first career goal.
“It’s only his third career game and we were impressed with him,” Russell said. “He had to sit out the first 17 games of the season due to eligibility and he came in and did a good job. He’s playing well with Jordan Baker and Eric Kattelus and the power play is where Peter really has the opportunity to shine. He made a nice play and this is first of hopefully many career goals.”
“Peter played great,” Huskies’ goalie Josh Robinson said. “He just got back into the lineup a couple games ago and he’s doing well. He got a goal tonight and hopefully he’ll get a few more.
“Any time you jump out with a lead, it’s going to take something out of the other team. Now it’s their goal to overcome that and come back and win and we just took the life out of their sails, closed them down and won the game.”
The Wildcats have been struggling this season, but have remained tight defensively. The shots read 20-12 in Northern Michigan’s favor.
“Defensively, we’re fine,” Kyle said. “We only let up 12 shots. We just have a lot of guys not doing their job in front of the other net. We had a lot of guys playing like individuals tonight and a lot of guys only thinking about Christmas so I give Tech a lot of credit. They get what they deserve.”
This was Michigan Tech’s first ever shutout against Northern Michigan.
“Robinson had a great weekend,” Russell said. “For a young goalie, he was great with his first career shutout. He really played outstanding.”
“It’s pretty special to make history here,” Robinson said. “Northern is our big rival and to do so well really makes it special.”
The Wildcats have a holiday break and will continue their season in Madison against the University of Wisconsin on Jan. 2-3. The Huskies will play again during the annual Great Lakes Invitational Dec. 27-28, which features the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans and North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
“It’s been a real struggle this year,” Russell. “We’ve played some really good games and we’ve faced a ton of adversity. Our schedule has been incredibly hard, not only with the teams we’ve faced but the injuries affecting our lineup. It’s a credit to our players, a demonstration of their character how they’ve stuck together and kept working hard, kept competing and going in the right direction. They really deserved these wins. Hopefully we can continue this as we head to the GLI.”