Hockey Huskies Beat No. 1 Minnesota 5-3
HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech buried its scoring chances and freshman goaltender Pheonix Copley played a strong game as the Huskies defeated No. 1-ranked Minnesota 5-3. Blake Pietila scored two goals and Dennis Rix added a goal and an assist to help Tech improve to 2-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 in WCHA play.
The hosts scored just 3:32 into the game, built a 3-1 lead after one period and a 5-2 lead after two en route to the win.
"We got off to a good start," said head coach Mel Pearson. "(Alex) Petan scored a great goal, and things seemed to go in for us. We really capitalized on our chances."
Petan scored the game's opening goal with a SportsCenter Top 10 play. Fellow freshman Jujhar Khaira passed to Petan on a 2-on-1 breakaway. The pass was out in front of Petan. He dove to stop the puck, then stood up and buried a shot into the top right corner.
Minnesota (2-1-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) tied the score with a four-on-four goal after Nate Schmidt put home a rebound at the 9:13 mark.
The Huskies answered five minutes later with back-to-back goals. Blake Pietila tipped a shot from Ryan Furne while on the power play at the 14:48 mark. Twenty-two seconds later, Dennis Rix scored his third goal in as many games with a tap in of a C.J. Eick centering pass.
The Gophers pulled within 3-2 when Nick Bjugstad netted a shot 2:51 into the second period. Again, the Huskies answered with two goals.
Rix feathered a pass to Chad Pietila on a breakaway and Pietila didn't miss. He went top shelf for his first goal of the season in his first game. Minnesota changed goaltenders after the tally, but Tech scored the next goal anyway.
Blake Pietila notched his second of the night after Tanner Kero backhanded a pretty pass with a defender draped on his back. The goal came at the 18:27 mark of the second.
Copley made several big saves to keep the Huskies in a 5-2 lead deep into the third period. The Gophers finally scored on the power play with little over two minutes remaining. UM brought on the extra attacker for the final 1:57, but Tech was able withstand the pressure.
"Pheonix played a heck of a hockey game," said Pearson. "He was a difference maker for us tonight."
The Huskies' netminder made 28 saves on 31 Gopher shots. Tech put 26 shots on goal. Both teams were 1-for-3 on the power play.
Michigan Tech and Minnesota will meet again tomorrow night to wrap up their two-game, WCHA-opening series.
Notes: Tech has scored 13 goals in its last two games … The Huskies are 4-1-2 against top-three ranked teams since the start of 2011-12 … Tech's last win over a No. 1-ranked team was Jan. 28, 2012, at Minnesota Duluth (5-0) … Attendance was 3,410.