BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Tech hockey team got the bounce it needed early in the third period and held off the No. 8-ranked Ferris State Bulldogs 1-0 at the Ewigleben Ice Arena on Friday (Oct. 24). Tech remains undefeated at 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the WCHA.
After two scoreless periods, the Huskies had the puck deep in FSU territory when Blake Pietila chipped a puck out front that bounced off some skates and slipped behind WCHA Preseason Player of the Year CJ Motte. The goal was only 19 seconds into the third and for Pietila, it was his third of the season and 35th of his career. Cliff Watson and Riley Sweeney assisted on the play.
"I spun out of position and threw it out front," said Pietila. "I don't really know what happened after that. I guess I just got a lucky bounce."
Ferris pulled Motte with 90 seconds to go and put a ton of pressure on the Huskies. After a few icings by Tech, and a few scrums that turned into seven penalties, the Huskies finally pulled off its first win in Big Rapids since October 1994.
Jamie Phillips pitched his second career shutout, stopping all 33 Ferris State shots. His first shutout was during his freshman year against Colorado College on March 8, 2013.
The Bulldogs were unbeaten in WCHA play last season at home with a 13-0-1 record. They lost only once at home in 2013-14. Ferris is now 2-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
"It was a good game," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "I'm happy for our players. We played well here last year and maybe deserved a better fate. Tonight we got a bounce and caught a break. Sometimes with hockey, that's all you need."
The first period was evenly played with each team getting a power play. Tanner Kero had the best chance of the period on a two on one rush with a shot that rang of the goal post. Shots were 10-9 in favor of the home team.
Tech came out with a lot of energy in the second period, outshooting the Bulldogs 20-13 with numerous quality scoring chances. Matt Roy had a pair of blasts from the blue line and Blake Hietala had a chance in front of the net that he wasn't able to get a full stick on.
The Huskies had their best chance to extend the lead midway through the third period with a two-man advantage for 72 seconds. David Johnstone had three one-timers that didn't find their way through traffic to the net during the power play.
"Overall I thought it was a real good performance from our team," Pearson said. "We picked up two big points, and we found a way to win on the road against a very good hockey team."
Tech outshot Ferris 42-33. Niether team capitalized on the power play with 10 total chances. FSU took 10 penalties while the Huskies had seven.
The two teams wrap up the WCHA series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 25) in the final meeting of the regular season.
GAME NOTES: David Johnstone played his 100th career game…Tech is 10-8-1 all-time against the Bulldogs…The Huskies entered the game second in the nation in goals per game (5) but scored only once…Phillips played all four games against FSU last year.