HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech won the MacInnes Cup as Winter Carnival champions for the sixth straight season after defeating Bemidji State 5-1 Saturday (Feb. 10) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Huskies outscored the Beavers 7-5 on the weekend to capture the trophy.
"I'm extremely proud of the guys," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "They competed hard tonight and played with a lot of pride and courage from the goaltender on out. I'm happy for the seniors for winning their fourth straight Winter Carnival. I want them to enjoy this."
Devin Kero was named MVP of the series after stopping 36-of-37 shots in his third straight win as the starter. He stopped eight shots in the first, nine in the second, and 19 in the third.
"That was as good of a college game as you're going to see a goalie play," Shawhan added. "He was on every puck tonight. He shut the door for us."
"I've been to a lot of Winter Carnivals," Kero said. "I know how much John MacInnes means to this university. I've sat around for four years and was finally able to be a part of it. It was a lot of fun tonight."
Five different Huskies scored in the game as Tech buried four straight to break a 1-1 first intermission tie.
Bemidji State (15-11-6, 12-8-4-2 WCHA) tied it up just over 7:00 later for its only goal of the game. Jordan Heller scored his third of the weekend with two seconds left on a power play from Aaron Miller and Justin Baudry.
Tech then capitalized on back-to-back power plays in the first half of the second period. Brent Baltus—playing for the first time since January 6—put in a rebound 7:17 into the second for a 2-1 lead. The initial shot by Joel L'Esperance was saved as he picked up the first of two assists on the evening.
"It was nice to be back out there with the guys," Baltus said. "Winter Carnival is a lot of fun to be a part of and our fans are always incredible to play in front of."
Gavin Gould gave the Black and Gold the margin it needed to secure the MacInnes Cup at the 11:45 mark of the second, burying his team-leading 11th of the season. L'Esperance carried the puck into the zone and it bounced off a defender out front. Gould chipped it under the goaltender for the 4-1 lead. Auk added the second assist.
The Huskies rounded out scoring late in the third period when Greyson Reitmeier stepped out of the penalty box and caught a three-quarter ice pass from Dane Birks and scored on a breakaway. The smooth backhanded goal gave Reitmeier his fourth of the season.
Michael Bitzer started the game for the Beavers, stopping 12 shots. Jack Burgart relieved him after Tech's fourth goal. Burgart had seven saves in the game's final 28:15.
The two teams combined for eight minor penalties. The Huskies were 2-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz was recognized on the ice before the game and dropped the puck. Mroz is stepping down and returning to the faculty ranks this summer after 14 years as President.
Tech remains home next weekend (Feb. 16-17), hosting Arizona State at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in the final nonconference games of the season. The two teams met earlier this year at the Ice Vegas Invitational. It is the Sun Devils third year in NCAA Division I college hockey and will be their first-ever visit to Houghton.