Minnesota St. completes sweep of Tech hockey
MANKATO, Minn. – No. 9 Minnesota State completed the sweep of Michigan Tech with a 6-1 victory Saturday at Verizon Wireless Center. The Huskies, who held a 38-28 advantage in shots on goal and seemed to also have the edge in quality scoring chances, deserved a better fate but didn’t get the bounces.
“It was one of those nights,” said Tech coach Mel Pearson. “Pucks went into our net too easily. It was a similar situation to the game we had with Northern (Michigan) on Tuesday when it went in easy for us.
“I can’t fault the effort from our team tonight. That’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
The game’s key action came in the second period. Blake Pietila rang a shot off the post in the first minute in an attempt to tie the game. Minutes later, Tommy Brown was called for tripping. On the penalty kill, Blake Pietila was hauled down on a breakaway and drew a penalty shot. Pietila was injured on the play as he went crashing into the net and end wall.
He left the bench for treatment, but returned to the ice to take the penalty shot, which he put off the post again.
Michigan Tech earned its first power play of the game 9:13 into the second period. It was Minnesota State scoring next, however. Zach Lehrke beat Copley shorthanded after a nice feed from Brett Knowles for a 2-0 advantage.
Pietila skated a shift or two after the penalty shot, but did not play the remainder of the game.
The Huskies continued to apply pressure, but had nothing to show for it. MSU added goals at the 16:58 and 19:04 marks of the period to enter the second intermission with a 4-0 advantage.
“I thought if one of Blake’s two posts went in it was going to be a whole different game, but it didn’t happen,” said Pearson. “You have to play solid defense on those nights when the puck doesn’t go in.”
Jamie Phillips replaced Copley in net to start the third period and surrendered the fifth goal to Knowles.
C.J. Eick broke up Stephon Williams’ shutout with 5:54 remaining as he took a stretch pass from Carl Nielsen and buried a shot inside the left post for his second career goal.
MSU finished off scoring with its second power-play goal of the night at 17:48.
Michigan Tech concluded the game with a 19-5 advantage in shots on goal in the third period.
Williams made 37 saves his 17th win of the season. Copley (19 saves) and Phillips (3) combined for 22 saves.
Tech went 0-for-2 on the power play compared to 2-for-4 for the hosts.
Michigan Tech will have its final bye weekend of the season coming up before returning to action at St. Cloud State March 1-2.