LAS VEGAS – Michigan Tech held on for a 4-3 victory over No. 13 Boston College in the semifinal of the Ice Vegas Invitational at T-Mobile Arena Friday (Jan. 5). The Huskies scored the first three goals and advanced to the title game in the inaugural tournament.
"Our guys battled really hard tonight," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "It would be great to win another trophy for our guys, but we just want to play another good hockey game."
Tech improved to 11-8-5 and plays Arizona State in the title game on Saturday (Jan. 6). Puck drop is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. The Sun Devils defeated Northern Michigan 7-3 in the second semifinal.
Dylan Steman opened scoring 14:29 into the game on a penalty shot for his third goal of the season. With the puck loose in the crease, a BC defenseman covered the puck, drawing Steman's second penalty shot in the last three games.
Brent Baltus extended his point streak to nine games, scoring 1:24 later to make it 2-0. Mitch Reinke had the setup pass to Baltus in the slot, as he banged in his eighth of the year. Baltus has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) over the span. Gavin Gould added the second assist.
Alex Smith added to the lead over 3:00 after the second goal as the Huskies capitalized on a two-man advantage. The Eagles were whistled for a 5:00 major and tacked on 2:00 minor. Steman and Mark Auk hooked up to get the puck out from behind the net, and Smith was at the doorstep to finish off Auk's pass.
Boston College (10-8-2) buried a pair of power-play goals in the second period to get back into it. Casey Fitzgerald scored 9:37 after intermission and Graham McPhee made it a one-goal game 2:19 later.
"I thought we got soft in the second period turning the puck over," added Shawhan. "It was very similar to the championship game at the GLI, but I'm really happy with the way we responded in the third period. We managed the puck well, and the late goal was a screenshot out front that Devin didn't really have a chance at."
Early in the third period, Thomas Beretta thought he scored, but BC goaltender Ryan Edquist somehow covered the puck before it went under him and across the goal line.
Gould did give the Huskies their two-goal lead back 11:44 into the final frame, scoring his eighth of the season. Reinke started the rush and found Seamus Donohue across the line. Donohue chipped it over to Gould who wristed it high blocker over Edquist.
The Eagles cut it to 4-3 with 1:11 left, but the Huskies won a late faceoff and blocked a shot as time expired to give Tech goaltender Devin Kero his first collegiate win.
"Devin played excellent for us as well," said Shawhan. "I'm incredibly proud of him. He stepped up tonight and got us a huge win."
BC held a 30-28 advantage in shots. Kero had 27 saves and Edquist finished with 24.
Tech was 2-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Faceoff in the Ice Vegas Title Game is set for 11:30 p.m. (Eastern) in the first-ever meeting between the Huskies and Sun Devils. Fans can listen to the game on Mix 93.5 WKMJ or Pasty.net or watch the game live on Flohockey.tv.