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Hockey Wins Home Opener Over Alabama Huntsville

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech hockey team won its home opener in convincing fashion on Friday (Oct. 14) with a 7-3 victory over Alabama Huntsville. NHL All-Star MVP John Scott was in the building to witness the win as the Huskies scored three goals in each of the first two periods and added a tally in the third.

Four Huskies had multiple points with Shane Hanna scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists to lead the charge. Goaltender Matt Wintjes earned the win, stopping 21-of-22 shots in the first two and a half periods.

"We were ready to play tonight," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "There's a lot of pressure on these guys right now with our start, but they were ready and prepared to play tonight."

Mark Auk opened the game's scoring 11:40 in. He carried the puck around the cage and took a wrist shot through traffic that found the back of the net. His defensive partner Mitch Reinke assisted on the tally that was reviewed at length before standing.

Only 15 seconds later, Dylan Steman added to the lead as he jammed in a rebound after his initial shot was saved by Huntsville goaltender Matt Larose. Dane Birks and Jake Jackson assisted.

Hanna added an unassisted goal on the power play less than three minutes later for a 3-0 advantage.

Jake Lucchini buried a power play goal only 26 seconds into the second from Matt Roy and Auk to set the tone for the middle frame.

Chris Leibinger scored on a shot from the point to make it 5-0 7:01 into the second. Roy and freshman forward Chris Gerrie—playing in his first collegiate game—assisted.

Reid Sturos got into the score sheet five and a half minutes later as he was setup by Tyler Heinonen for an easy tap in power play goal. Hanna added an assist.

Alex Smith scored his first collegiate goal in the third period, as he finished off a passing play from Reinke and Hanna on the power play.

UAH (2-3, 2-1 WCHA) scored its three goals in the third. Brandon Salerno got the Chargers on the board 2:08 in, and Max McHugh added a power play goal on a two-man advantage 12:00 later. Jordan Larson also scored for the visitors in the final 4:00.

Tech (1-4, 1-2 WCHA) was blistering on the man advantage all night long, scoring on its first three chances and finishing 4-for-7. The Huskies killed off 5-of-6 penalties.

"We moved the puck well on the power play and did a good job on the penalty kill," added Pearson. "We put in a lot of work in both of those areas this week, and our players executed the game plan."

Angus Redmond made the first appearance of his career between the pipes for the Black and Gold, stopping five shots in the final 12:08.

Larose had 14 saves in the start for UAH, while Jordan Uhelski added 15 saves in relief.

John Scott and his family spent the day at Michigan Tech. John spoke at a soldout Blue Line Club luncheon at noon and then dropped the puck in a pregame on-ice ceremony. John donned a Michigan Tech sweater from 2002-06 before going on to play 286 career NHL games, including the 2016 NHL All-Star Game where he was a team captain and named the MVP.

The Huskies and Chargers wrap up the WCHA series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The first 1,000 fans will receive a special edition MacNaughton Cup T-shirt.