Oct. 26/27, 2012 • 7:37/7:07 p.m. (MDT) • Magness Arena (6,026)
Michigan Tech (2-2-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) at No. 5 Denver (2-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA)
TAKING DOWN NO. 1
Michigan Tech split with No. 1 Minnesota last weekend to open the WCHA schedule. The Huskies earned a 5-3 victory Friday (Oct. 19) before the Gophers scored a late goal Saturday (Oct. 20) for a 3-2 victory. Tech is 2-2-0 in its last four games with Minnesota. Last weekend's split with No. 1 Minnesota pushed the Huskies' record against teams ranked in the nation's top three to 4-2-2 since the start of the 2011-12 season. That includes a win and tie vs. No. 3 Denver early last year (Oct. 28-29).
PIETILAS TALLY FOUR OF TEAM'S SEVEN GOALS LAST WEEKEND
The Pietila brothers accounted for four of Michigan Tech's seven goals vs. Minnesota. Sophomore Blake Pietila had two goals on Friday to run his team-leading goal total to four on the season. Senior Chad Pietila posted the game-winning goal Friday and a game-tying goal Saturday while playing in his first two games of the year.
COPLEY WCHA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Goaltender Pheonix Copley, who helped the Huskies to a two-game split against top-ranked and visiting Minnesota last weekend while starting both games, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Rookie of the Week for Oct. 23. The 6-3, 175-pound freshman from North Pole, Alaska, stopped 28-of-31 shots on goal last Friday (Oct. 19) while giving up just two even-strength goals against the No. 1 Golden Gophers to earn his first collegiate win. He then posted 31 more saves in a 3-2, one-goal setback last Saturday and held Minnesota scoreless on all five power-play chances as the two teams were tied at 2-2 until the 16:25 mark of the final period. Copley has now started three of Michigan Tech's four games this season.
PRODUCTION FROM EVERYONE
Tech's entire lineup has figured into the team's scoring so far this season. In four Huskies' games, 18 different skaters have tallied a point (every player who has played in at least two games). Nine different players have goals on the year. Balance was a hallmark of Tech's 2011-12 campaign, when the team had a nation-leading nine players with eight goals or more.
The Huskies and Pioneers renew an old series this weekend. The teams first met in 1951 and have squared off annually since 1984. Denver owns a 116-83-18 advantage in the all-time series. The teams split three matchups a year ago with the Huskies earning a win and tie at home before falling to DU 3-2 in overtime at the WCHA Final Five.
PETAN AMONG SPORTSCENTER'S TOP PLAYS
Freshman Alex Petan's game-opening goal vs. Minnesota was ESPN SportsCenter's No. 3 play of the day. Petan dove to stop a pass from teammate Jujhar Khaira on a breakaway. The 5-8, 155-pound winger then roofed a shot while getting back to his feet for his second collegiate goal.
THE POWER PLAY
Michigan Tech's power play currently ranks fifth in the nation at 29.4 percent. The Huskies have converted 5-of-17 chances in four games.
LAST TIME IN COLORADO
Michigan Tech won each of its last two games in Colorado—a sweep of Colorado College in the WCHA Playoffs last March 9 (3-1) and 10 (4-3, OT).
PLUS SIX FOR NIELSEN/STEBNER DEFENSIVE PAIRING
Defensemen Carl Nielsen and Brad Stebner are tied for the team lead in plus-minus rating at plus six so far in 2012-13. Nielsen has a goal and an assist on the year. Stebner is on a three-game point streak with 0-3=3.
RIX GOES THREE-FOR-THREE
Junior forward Dennis Rix registered his third goal in as many games with an even strength tally last Friday. The Grande Prairie, Alb., native is having a breakout start to the 2012-13 campaign with 3-1=4 in four games after having 4-5=9 in 38 games a year ago.
NIELSEN CAPTAIN; SEIGO AND STEBNER TO ASSIST
Senior defenseman Carl Nielsen will serve as the Huskies' captain in 2012-13. The Amherst, Ohio, native was an assistant captain for the team a year ago and has played in 107 career games at Tech. Senior Steven Seigo and junior Brad Stebner will be assistant captains, giving the Huskies three defensemen in leadership roles.
THREE NHL DRAFT PICKS
Michigan Tech went three years without an NHL draft pick on the roster until Blake Pietila (New Jersey, fifth round) joined the squad last fall. Now, the Huskies have three draftees in the program. Forward Jujhar Khaira and goaltender Jamie Phillips were both selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round (63rd overall), while Phillips was picked in the seventh round by the Winnipeg Jets (190th overall).