HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech won the MacInnes Cup as winners of the annual Winter Carnival series for the fifth year in a row, defeating Ferris State 5-2 Saturday (Feb. 11) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Reid Sturos scored two goals Saturday and was named Winter Carnival MVP.
The Huskies scored two goals in the first period, one in the second, and two in the third to improve to 17-12-7 overall and 14-6-6-3 in the WCHA.
"It's important to win Winter Carnival," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "We talk about John MacInnes and what he means to this program. Any time you can play for a trophy that bears his name, it is important.
"Tonight's game had the intensity of a playoff game. It was a hard fought game that came down right to the end. We had a tough loss last night, but I give our guys credit. They were prepared to play tonight."
Thomas Beretta put the home team on the board 6:10 into the first period on long shot from the red line that took a bounce in front of the Ferris State net and caught goaltender
Justin Kapelmaster by surprise. For Beretta, it was his third of the season with assists going to Matt Roy and Tech goaltender Angus Redmond.
Sturos added to the lead eight minutes later on a quick backhand shot for his seventh of the season. Michael Neville set him up in front of the FSU net, sliding the puck past his defender to a wide-open Sturos. Jake Jackson was credited with the secondary assist.
"Mike had it in the circle on a mini 2-on-1 after a turnover," Sturos said. "He made a nice play to me, slipping it by the defenseman's stick. I just tried to go far side. I think the goalie tripped me, and it happened to go in."
Ferris State (10-17-4, 9-12-3-2 WCHA) scored 5:48 into the second period with a power play tally by Mitch Maloney. Andrew Dorantes and Ryan Lowney assisted.
Tyler Heinonen made it a two-goal lead again 16:47 into the second on a 5-on-3 power play. Heinonen scored on a sharp-angled shot to finish off a passing play from Mitch Reinke and Shane Hanna. For Heinonen, it was his seventh of the season and fifth on the man advantage.
"That was a big goal," added Pearson. "We used our timeout to begin that power play to make sure we knew what we were doing. They executed. Tyler had a strong weekend. He played heavy on the puck, and it was nice to see him rewarded with that goal."
Jared VanWormer scored his second on the weekend 1:04 into the third to make it 3-2. Gerald Mayhew and Corey Mackin assisted VanWormer's power play tally.
The visitors pulled goaltender Kapelmaster with 1:26 left in the game, and Chris Leibinger stole the puck at center ice and fired it into the open net. The unassisted tally was Leibinger's seventh of the season.
Scoring wasn't done, as Sturos found the back of the net again with 55 seconds remaining. Neville deflected a Ferris pass and Sturos picked it up and sniped a shot over Kapelmaster's blocker to seal the win and his MVP candidacy.
"Reid played strong both nights," said Pearson. "That line with Mike Neville and Jake Jackson created good opportunities all weekend. I'm happy to see Reid and that line get rewarded."
Tech outshot FSU 27-22. Redmond had 20 saves for the Huskies.
The MacInnes Cup goes to the team with the most goals on the weekend. The Huskies outscored the Bulldogs 7-5. Scott MacInnes, the son of legendary hockey coach John MacInnes, was on hand to present the trophy to Tech's senior class. Winter Carnival Queen Amber Toboyek presented the MVP trophy to Sturos.
Tech held a moment of silence before the game for Mike Ilitch, the owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers. Ilitch passed away on Friday and was a proud supporter of the Great Lakes Invitational that Tech hosts annually at Joe Louis Arena.
The Huskies have next weekend off before wrapping up the regular season against Northern Michigan. The two teams meet in Marquette on February 24 with the season finale on February 25 at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Tech's eight seniors will be honored after Saturday night's game.