One crown, two digits, four points
HOUGHTON – There are blowouts. There are routs. There are the occasional butt-kickings.
And then there is the 10-4 decimation the Michigan Tech men’s hockey team laid on visiting Alabama-Huntsville Saturday night.
The Huskies got seven goals in the second period from seven different players to turn what had been an interesting first period into a night spent cruising through the record books.
It was the most goals Michigan Tech had scored in a game since a 10-2 win over Minnesota in 1993.
Junior forward Blake Pietila, winner of Winter Carnival MVP thanks to his six-point weekend, was not born until three weeks after Tech hit double digits against the Gophers.
“I thought Alabama had five really good periods this weekend, things just got away from them in the second period,” Pearson said.
“Earlier this year those weren’t going in for us. We got some puck luck on our side.”
“I guess it wasn’t your average game,” Pietila added.
Things were level 1-1 after Pietila scored a power-play goal in the first period but the Chargers responded with a slick passing sequence of their own less than a minute after.
That quickly changed in the second.
Pietila slapped home his second 3:34 into the frame, again on the power play, cleaning up in front of the net after Reid Sturos and Shane Hanna combined well to get the puck there.
Dennis Rix added his second tally of the season two minutes later with a backhand shot/pass from the red line that managed to find a hole in goaltender Matt Larose’s pads.
“I thought that was the turning point,” Pearson said. “The kind of bounce that we weren’t getting earlier in the year.”
The goals just kept coming from there.
And coming and coming.
C.J. Eick scored on a breakaway after he forced a turnover at the blue line. Malcolm Gould then tapped home a pinpoint backdoor pass from Brent Baltus to make it 5-1 and truly out of hand.
Huntsville pulled one back with Jack Prince lighting the lamp, but his goal couldn’t stem the tide as David Johnstone, Mike Neville and Reid Sturos all scored before the period ran out.
All totaled, and 14 of the 18 skaters for Tech appeared on the score sheet.
“We have some secondary scoring now,” Pearson said. “That’s going to be very important going forward.”
Gould ensued it was a memorable night with his second goal of the evening 5:38 into the third period – the first time since 2006 Tech had scored nine goals in a game – and then Max Vallis turned it into a historic one with his first collegiate goal turning the scoreboard to double digits.
The victory moves Tech into sole possession of third place in the WCHA, one point clear of Alaska-Anchorage and Bowling Green.
Two weeks ago, the Huskies were in a three-way tie for seventh at the bottom of the standings.
“That is how tight things are,” Pietila said. “You win a couple of games and you are right in the thick of things.”
“We are in control of our destiny now,” Pearson said.
It was the second straight Winter Carnival Championship for Tech, with Pietila recognized afterwards.
There was a chorus of laughter from his teammates as he merely hugged Winter Carnival Queen Janna Clement instead of the traditional kiss.
“I got a lot of hardship form the guys for not kissing the queen,” Pietila said with a smile. “But the girlfriend said no.”