HOUGHTON, Mich. — Despite grabbing a three-goal lead less than 10 minutes into the game, the Michigan Tech Huskies needed a full 60-minute effort to stave off the visiting Alaska Anchorage Seawolves and earn their first sweep of 2012 with a 6-4 victory Saturday night at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Huskies’ assistant captain Jordan Baker led all scorers with three goals and one assist on the night.
“We haven’t always played with a lead before,” said Baker. “It’s a learning experience for all of us. Coach was stressing us to keep with it and not get too high.”
Baker’s lone assist came when he set up sophomore winger Milos Gordic for the game-winning goal 9:37 into the third period. After missing on his initial shot, Baker snuck around the net with the puck and fed a crashing Gordic, who beat Seawolves’ netminder Dusan Sidor.
“I told the guys, at the end, it was going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes,” said Seawolves’ coach Dave Shyiak. “They made one, we capitalized on it. After that we made a couple, and they capitalized on theirs.”
Senior winger Bryce Reddick scored twice in the opening 7:52 to help the Huskies to the early advantage. The first, which came at 2:46, came on a two-on-one off a pass from sophomore center Dennis Rix. The second also came courtesy of Rix, as he fired the initial shot that caromed to a waiting Reddick at the side of the goal.
“All of the seniors want this to be our best year here,” said Reddick. “When everyone’s playing, not just the same three or four guys, everyone’s got fresh legs, so that helps you move on.”
Baker extended the lead to three at the 9:55 mark of the opening frame when he snatched up a rebound off a shot from freshman center Tanner Kero. Sidor struggled with the rebound, allowing Baker to sneak in, grab the puck, and push it behind Sidor, who was making his first career start.
“We needed a real good start,” said Huskies’ coach Mel Pearson. “I thought it could have four or five-nothing; their goalie made a couple of great saves. We’re not used to playing with a big lead like that.”
Baker had a golden opportunity to make it 4-0, but his one-timer off a pass from Kero was stopped by Sidor with just under six minutes left in the first period.
Building off the momentum of the big save, the Seawolves (6-12-2 overall, 3-12-1 WCHA) got on the board off a crucial faceoff win in the Huskies’ zone at 16:58. Winger Mitch Bruijsten found the back of the net after the initial shot from defenseman Austin Coldwell.
After failing to score on a power play early in the second period, the Seawolves managed to cut into the Huskies’ (11-11-1 WCHA 8-7-1 WCHA) lead a minute later when winger Ryan Furne turned the puck over at the red line. Winger Brett Cameron took a pass from defenseman Derek Docken and skated deep into the Huskies’ zone, hitting winger Curtis Leinweber for the goal at 6:38.
Looking to tie the game a little more than five minutes later, winger Andrew Pettit fired an initial shot which Huskies’ netminder Josh Robinson stopped. Captain Jake Portwood snatched up the loose puck, carried it behind the net, and found a hole on the far side of the net with a wraparound at 12:03.
Bruijsten notched his second of the night 4:41 into the third period after Robinson misplayed the puck and Bruijsten managed to get a second shot near the net.
The lead was short-lived however, as Huskies’ captain Brett Olson circled the Seawolves’ goal and found Baker alone in front for his second goal of the night at 5:19.
Baker capped the scoring at 18:52 when he found the gaping net in front of him after Shyiak had pulled Sidor for an extra attacker.
For the second straight night, neither team managed to score on the power play.
This marked the first time the Huskies scored six goals in back-to-back contests since January 2005, when the Huskies defeated Notre Dame in Green Bay, Wis., 6-2, and Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., 6-3.