Hockey overcomes Alaska

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Husky Junior goalie Patrick “Packy” Munson. Image courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletics

The Michigan Tech hockey team traveled to the last frontier, Alaska, these past couple weeks to take on the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (1-7-4, 1-2-3 WCHA), and the Alaska Nanooks (4-10-2, 2-7-1 WCHA). The Huskies saw three games go into overtime, as they tied both games with Anchorage 1-1 and 3-3, then they swept Alaska 5-4 in overtime and 5-1 over two games.

Friday, Nov. 17, the Seawolves started the game very physical, as they received a penalty just 36 seconds into the game for boarding. The Huskies Sophomore Thomas Beretta found the back of the net with 16 seconds left on the powerplay, assisted by Sophomore Keegan Ford and Junior Jake Jackson. Senior Joel L’Esperance received a game misconduct for checking from behind, resulting in him being ejected from the game.

The Seawolves would tie it up at the 15:35 mark, as they’d slip the puck past Tech Goaltender Junior Packy Munson. Four minutes later the Seawolves received a game misconduct for also checking from behind, resulting in him being ejected from the game. That would be all the scoring in the game, resulting in a shootout. The Seawolves took the extra WCHA point as they would win the shootout 1-0 in the fifth round.

Munson would make 13 saves on 14 shots, while Tech heavily outshot Anchorage 37-14. Tech was 1-5 on the powerplay, and had 17 minutes in the penalty box on three penalties.

Saturday, Nov. 18, Tech jumped out to the early lead again, as Senior Alex Gillies buried the puck in the net for the early 1-0 lead, assisted by Sophomore Mitch Reinke and Freshman Greyson Reitmeier. However, just over three minutes later Anchorage tied it up, as they got the puck past Goaltender Freshman Robbie Beydoun. The Seawolves took the 2-1 lead at the 17:21 mark. With 15 seconds remaining in the first period, the Huskies received a break, as they would go into the second period on a powerplay, as Anchorage received a five-minute major for slashing. Unfortunately, nothing was able to come from the opportunity for the Huskies.

Anchorage had the lone goal in the second period at the 15:14 mark for the 3-1 lead, resulting in a goalie change for the Huskies as Munson would be sent in for the Huskies. The third period started with a penalty by the Seawolves at the 3:20 mark, which Huskies Senior Dane Birks would take advantage of, as he found the back of the net to make it 3-2 anchorage, assisted by Ford and Beretta. Eleven minutes later the Huskies tied it up as Sophomore Alex Smith flew the puck into the net, assisted by Jackson and Birks.

The Seawolves once again won the extra WCHA point, as they would score in the three on three overtime.

Starter Beydoun made eight saves on 11 shots, while Munson made 13 saves on 13 shots. The Huskies once again heavily outshot the Seawolves 40-24, and went 1-5 on the powerplay. Tech spent 12 minutes in the penalty box on six penalties.
On Friday, Nov. 24, in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Huskies saw themselves go down 1-0 at the 11:20 mark, and saw the deficit increase seven minutes later to end the first period down 2-0. Tech went down 3-0, as Alaska scored just 45 seconds into the second period. Three and a half minutes later Smith knocked in the puck for the first goal in Fairbanks for the Huskies, assisted by Freshman Todd Kiilunen and Senior Brent Baltus. The Huskies pulled within one at the 10:43 mark as Baltus pounded the puck into the net, assisted by Smith and Jackson. The Huskies tied it up at three apiece at the 17:19 mark as Senior Mark Auk scored the goal, assisted by Freshman Seamus Donohue and Sophomore Raymond Brice.
Alaska started out the third period receiving a penalty for roughing just 40 seconds into the period. 20 seconds later Reinke discovered the back of the net for the 4-3 lead, assisted by Junior Jake Lucchini and Sophomore Gavin Gould. About three and a half minutes later Alaska tied it back up, which would result in overtime.

With 58 seconds remaining in the overtime Lucchini banked in the game winning goal for the Huskies, assisted by L’Esperance and Gould.
Munson made 39 saves on 43 shots, while the Nanooks outshot Tech 43-31. Tech went 1-5 on the powerplay, and had five penalties for 10 minutes in the penalty box.

On Saturday, Nov. 25, the Huskies found their offensive groove, as they took the 1-0 lead as Baltus buried the puck past the Nanook goaltender, assisted by Smith. Ten minutes later Beretta ripped one in the net for the 2-0 lead, assisted by Seniors Dylan Steman and Birks. The Second period saw Tech’s offensive surge continue, as Jackson soared the puck past the goalie not even two minutes into the period for the 3-0 lead, assisted by Baltus and Reinke. Three minutes later Jackson had his second of the night as he gave the Huskies the 4-0 lead, assisted by Smith. Almost 12 minutes later Donohue gave Tech the 5-0 lead, assisted by Gould and Lucchini.

Alaska scored the lone goal in the third, and their lone goal of the game at the 12:50 mark. Alaska’s tempers flared as, with one second left in the game, they received a game misconduct for contact to the head, resulting in the ejection of the player.

“Half of our league schedule is now done, so we needed the points. It was a good trip up here with us taking eight of the 12 possible points.” Said Tech head coach Joe Shawhan.

Munson looked phenomenal in net yet again for the Huskies as he made 34 saves on 35 shots. Tech was once again outshot 35-34. Tech was 0-4 on the powerplay, and spent 18 minutes in the penalty box on nine penalties.

The Huskies will have a week off before returning to the Mac Friday and Saturday December 8th and 9th to face the Ferris State Bulldogs (6-9-1, 3-4-1 WCHA) at 7:07 both nights. The Bulldogs are coming off of a split with the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers in Huntsville, winning the first game 6-2, but losing the second 3-5.