Sweet sweep for Tech on road
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Blake Pietila scored 1:12 into overtime to give Michigan Tech a 5-4 victory Saturday and series sweep at Bowling Green State. The Huskies overcame a pair of two-goal deficits in the game. Jacob Johnstone scored twice in the third period to tie the game each time, including a tally with 3:42 left to send it to overtime.
Jamie Phillips made 27 saves in net for Tech to get the win. The biggest of those was a glove grab with 47 seconds remaining in regulation.
Alex Petan drew a tripping penalty on a Falcons’ defender in the opening moments of overtime, setting up a power play. Pietila then converted a backhanded pass from Reid Sturos through the crease, tapping the puck into a yawning net for the winner.
“I can’t say enough about our team,” said Tech coach Mel Pearson. “To be able to come back from down two goals with all the penalties in a tough environment, I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Huskies (10-14-6 overall and 8-8-4 in WCHA play) were forced to battle from behind all game, trailing 2-0 midway through the first period before Malcolm Gould scored his second goal of the weekend with a hard wrist shot from the left circle.
BGSU (13-12-5, 10-9-3 WCHA) jumped back ahead 3-1 at the 10:10 mark of the second period when the puck caromed off the end wall to a waiting Falcon at the side of the net.
Just 17 seconds later, the complexion of the game changed when Petan was pushed into Bowling Green netminder Tommy Burke, starting a scrum between the teams. Petan was given a minor for charging the goalie, and BGSU’s Marcus Perrier was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for grasping the facemask.
As the teams were lining up for the faceoff after the penalties, Riley Sweeney and Ralfs Freibergs engaged each other. Sweeney earned a two-minute slashing penalty while Freibergs received a five-minute major and game misconduct for spearing.
That left the hosts with just four defensemen on the bench and gave Tech three full minutes of 5-on-3 power play.
David Johnstone converted a goal in the extended power play with a wrist shot through traffic from the high slot.
The score was 3-2 after 40 minutes.
In the third period, Jacob Johnstone scored the first of his two goals by stealing a puck in the offensive zone. He walked in on Burke all alone and waited patiently to put a backhand into the upper part of the net.
The goal came at 1:57 of the period, but it only took eight seconds for the Falcons to answer. Matt Pohlkamp scored his second of the game to regain BGSU’s one-goal margin at 4-3.
Tech killed off a penalty midway through the third period to stay within a goal. The Huskies then put waves of pressure on BGSU in the offensive zone.
It finally paid off with 3:42 to play. Michael Neville made a great hustle play to keep the puck in the zone, then fed Jacob Johnstone in front, where he scored to tie the game.
“I told the team after the second period that I had a good feeling about this game,” said Pearson. “There’s no quit in these guys. They’ve worked hard all season. It’s nice to see them get rewarded.”
The game winner came on a beautiful feed from Sturos, who drew two defenders and laid it across the goal mouth to a wide-open Pietila.
The Black and Gold finished with two power play goals on seven chances while holding BGSU scoreless on six tries. Despite being out-shot 25-9 at one point during the second period, the Huskies finished with a 32-31 edge in shots on goal.
Tech’s 10-goal outburst on the weekend was its highest scoring series since Feb. 8-9, 2013, in a home series vs. Alaska Anchorage. It was the most in a road series since it had 10 at Minnesota State Feb. 3-4, 2012.
Michigan Tech will return home for its next five games beginning with its annual Winter Carnival series next weekend. Alabama-Huntsville comes to the MacInnes Student Ice Arena for a 7:07 p.m. start Friday and 5:07 matinee Saturday.