HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Michigan Tech hockey team opened WCHA play with a 2-1 victory over Alabama Huntsville Friday (Nov. 2) at the Von Braun Center. The Huskies held a 40-17 shots on goal advantage and got goals from Justin Misiak and Colin Swoyer.
"I'm extremely happy about the win," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "Our entire defensive corps played better tonight. They battled and competed and made smart plays with the puck. We didn't give up a ton and our goaltending was good again. We could've had about six goals in the first half."
Tech (2-3, 1-0 WCHA) dominated the shots in the first period 19-3. Gavin Gould, Jake Lucchini, and Jake Jackson all had quality scoring chances on breaks to the net but were steered away by Charger goaltender Mark Sinclair.
The Huskies buzzed early in the second period and finally found the back of the net when Misiak scored his first of the season 2:05 after intermission. Raymond Brice found Misiak open between the circles and he went backhand for his ninth career goal. Zach Noble—playing in his first career game—added the second assist as he carried the puck into the zone and found Brice.
"Justin Misiak was really good tonight," added Shawhan. "He gave us some great shifts. He tracked the puck hard and fought for upper ice positioning. His hard work paid off tonight with his first goal of the season."
Swoyer added to the lead 5:15 later with the first of his career. The Huskies cycled into the offensive zone before Alex Smith dropped a pass back to Swoyer for a long wrist shot through traffic and past Sinclair. Keegan Ford added the second assist for his third helper in the last three games.
UAH (0-9, 0-3 WCHA) scored 11:03 into the third period to make it a one-goal game. Brandon Salerno got one over Tech goaltender Matt Jurusik with Connor Merkley assisting.
The Chargers added the extra attacker with 41 seconds left but only got one shot off that sailed wide.
Jurusik finished with 16 saves in his third straight start. He had a shot hit the crossbar behind him in the first period and made a pair of big saves late in the second period to keep the home team off the scoreboard. Jurusik stopped a Charger at the side of the net and then another in front of the crease after a turnover came out front.
Sinclair had 38 saves after the Huskies peppered him with 19 shots in the first, 16 in the second, and six in the third. Brian Halonen and Gavin Gould both had great scoring chances in the final 5:00, but Sinclair was there both times to give the home team a chance at tying the game late.
Tech was 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill after the two teams combined for only six minor penalties.
The Huskies and Chargers will wrap-up the WCHA series Saturday (Nov. 3) at 8:07 p.m. (Eastern).
"We need to bring a good effort tomorrow night," said Shawhan. "When the skill part of the game was going in the first half tonight, we played well. When the grit part came out in the second part of the game, we struggled a bit. It's going to be a grind game tomorrow, and we need to get 60 minutes of hockey out of our guys."
The contest will be game four of Tech's eight-game road trip.