December 4, 2012

Tech Drops 2-1 Hockey Decision at NMU

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Michigan Tech fell to Northern Michigan 2-1 in non-conference hockey action tonight at the Berry Events Center. The Huskies, who trailed 2-0 with seven minutes to play, pulled within one and nearly tied the game in the frenetic closing moments.

The game featured four video reviews by the officials, and they started quite early in the contest.

The Wildcats (6-8-3) apparently scored a goal 42 seconds into play, but the goal was disallowed because it was ruled to have been kicked into the net. Less than a minute later, the hosts did take a 1-0 lead on their first shot. It came from a C.J. Ludwig one-timer on the man advantage.

Freshman goaltender Jamie Phillips, getting his first collegiate start, settled in nicely after the opening sequence. The 6-3 netminder stopped 23 of NMU's final 24 shots on goal.

Michigan Tech (4-8-1), which was outshot 10-3 in the opening period, seemed to control play in the second. The Huskies had several good scoring chances but couldn't convert. Jujhar Khaira put a shot off the cross bar midway through the frame that would have tied the game. That play was reviewed and determined that the puck didn't enter the net.

Northern Michigan's second goal (and eventual game winner) came with just 16 seconds left in the second period after Tech turned the puck over in the defensive zone. Erik Higby collected the puck, walked out alone in front of Phillips and scored.

Just 12 seconds later, Tanner Kero put a shot through NMU goalie Jared Coreau. The referees signaled goal on the ice, but after a lengthy review waved it off (presumably for goaltender interference).

Tech pressured NMU throughout the third period and finally put a goal on the board during their sixth power play of the game. Brad Stebner took a shot from the left point that found its way through traffic and inside the right post. Walker Hyland and Malcolm Gould each drew assists on the play.

The Black and Gold pulled Phillips for the extra attacker in the final minute of the contest but couldn't get the equalizer.

"It's a tough loss," said head coach Mel Pearson. "Our players put in a good effort and deserved better. We did a lot of things well tonight except we didn't convert on our scoring chances. I thought we had a lot of grade A chances.

"I'm really proud of the way these guys battle. We were right there, and it just didn't go our way tonight."

Michigan Tech finished with a 12-3 advantage in shots on goal in the third period and 26-25 edge for the game. Both teams were 1-for-6 on the power play.

Tech, which has played three games in the last five days, will play two more this weekend at Wisconsin. Games at the Kohl Center in Madison are set for Friday (Dec. 7) and Saturday (Dec. 8) at 8:07 p.m. ET both nights.

Notes: Stebner's goal was his first of the season and fourth of his career …Hyland's assist marked his first career point … Tech and Northern will have a rematch in Houghton on Tuesday, Feb. 12.