HOUGHTON, Mich. — After surrendering the game’s final four goals Friday night, host Michigan Tech stormed out of the gates on Saturday, scoring three times in the first period en route to a 6-1 victory over Alaska-Anchorage.
The Huskies got two goals each from wingers Milos Gordic and Alex Petan. Gordic finished the weekend with four points, receiving Winter Carnival MVP honors for his efforts.
“I thought yesterday’s game left a bad taste in our mouth,” said Gordic. “Coach [Mel Pearson] said go out there and just be relentless. That’s what we did today.”
The Huskies drew an early power play and the advantage proved deadly for the visitors as center Tanner Kero found defenseman Walker Hyland at the left point. Hyland waited for a screen in front of Seawolves’ goalie Rob Gunderson before firing a low wrist shot. Gordic caused all kinds of problems in front as Hyland’s first career goal snuck into the net at 7:37.
Looking for more 90 seconds later, the Huskies (9-14-4 overall, 6-12-4 WCHA) went back on the offensive.
Winger Blake Pietila blasted a shot that Gunderson struggled to control. The rebound kicked right to winger Malcolm Gould, whose shot sailed over Gunderson’s left shoulder and into the net.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Pearson. “It was a real tough loss last night. To come back and play like we did shows a lot of character and resiliency in our team. I thought a lot of guys had good games.”
Gordic would eventually get a goal of his own late in the period after shot from winger Ryan Furne. Gordic outbattled Gunderson for the rebound and buried the puck in the back of the net at 18:06. Center Dennis Rix also assisted on the goal.
Seawolves’ head coach Dave Shyiak called upon goaltender Chris Kamal to start the second period and for a while, the move seemed to work in favor of the Seawolves (4-17-7 overall, 2-16-6 WCHA).
Blake Pietila challenged Kamal with a shot on a three-on-one, but the netminder turned the shot aside. A minute later, winger David Johnstone fired a shot on a two-on-one that Kamal stopped as well. Kamal finished with 27 saves.
“I thought our guys would have responded better and had a better start,” said Shyiak. “Our starts have not been very good. We dig ourselves a hole continually. This league’s too good [to do that].”
Play evened out for the next few minutes until the Seawolves finally found a weak spot on Huskies’ netminder Pheonix Copley, a surprise starter after his struggles Friday. Winger Scott Allen took a pass from winger Jordan Kwas and beat Copley over the left shoulder at 8:56.
Copley was busier from that point forward as MTU struggled to settle back down after the goal.
The UAA line of center Matt Bailey and wingers Kory Roy and Alex Gellert had two great chances on the same shift, but Copley came up big. He would combine with Jamie Phillips to make 24 saves on the night.
Late in the period, the Huskies finally got back on the offensive as David Johnstone and Petan skated in on a two-on-one. Johnstone waited until Petan beat the Seawolves’ defender to the net before feeding him. Petan wasted no time burying the puck in the back of the net at 17:14.
The Huskies struck again less than a minute later when winger C.J. Eick took a pass from Rix. Eick beat Kamal cleanly for his first career goal at 18:10. Winger Aaron Pietila also assisted on the goal.
“It’s a relief,” said Eick. “I feel bad for my linemates. Rix should be leading the country in assists if I could be burying half of those. It was a relief and just good to get the win tonight.”
In the third period, the game’s physicality escalated as both teams looked to intimidate their opponents. Eventually, the rough stuff led to another Michigan Tech power play.
Furne took a pass from David Johnstone and cut towards Kamal with the puck. Seeing Petan on the far side of the crease, Furne placed a perfect pass on Petan’s stick and the freshman buried a one-timer behind Kamal at 9:27.
Petan had a golden opportunity to net his hat trick goal with three minutes remaining in the game, but a saucer pass from David Johnstone proved too difficult for Petan to redirect the puck into the net.