Huskies defeat NMU in front of sellout Saturday

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The No. 20-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team earned a WCHA split with rival Northern Michigan Saturday (Dec. 8) after a 3-1 win in front of a sold out John MacInnes Student Ice Arena crowd. Tech improved to 9-6-1 overall and 8-1-1-1 in the WCHA.

Goaltender Robbie Beydoun made 28 saves in his first start of the season, while Trenton Bliss had a goal and an assist, and Jake Lucchini added a pair of assists.

"I'm obviously thrilled with the way we played," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "It's nice to bounce back after last night. It was a great crowd and atmosphere, and we felt that energy all night.

"I'm proud of Robbie in net and our defensive corps for only allowing one goal. Really, I'm proud of every aspect of our game."

Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. The Huskies capitalized on their first power play when Seamus Donohue found the back of the net 8:17 into the game for his first of the season. Bliss and Lucchini assisted on the goal as the shot was deflected off an NMU defenseman's stick and in for Donohue's fourth career tally.

Justin Misiak added to the lead 6:28 later when he finished off a setup feed from Raymond Brice. The duo created a turnover in the offensive zone. Misiak fed it backhanded over to Brice before receiving a return feed after the NMU goaltender and defenseman got way out of position. It was Misiak's third of the season and 11th of his career.

NMU (7-10-0, 6-4-0-0 WCHA) got on the board with 3:22 remaining before the first intermission after a goal by Mitchell Slattery. He deflected a shot by Luke Voltin in front of the net to make it 2-1.

Each team had a goal disallowed in the opening minutes of the second period. Dylan Steman scored only 47 seconds after intermission on a scramble play in front of the net. After a challenge and lengthy review, the officials waved it off.

NMU then thought they scored to tie the game up a couple minutes later when Denver Pierce found the back of the net. The officials again reviewed the play and waved off the goal to keep the lead 2-1 in Tech's favor.

Bliss buried his second of the weekend and fourth of the season 13:44 into the second on the power play to make it 3-1. He shoveled in a loose puck in front of the crease with assists going to Steman and Lucchini.

The Huskies had a chance to extend the lead 6:30 into the third when Thomas Beretta went in on a breakaway but last year's WCHA Goaltender of the Year Atte Tolvanen was there for the save.

On the other side, Beydoun stood tall for the Huskies, making 12 of his 28 saves in the third period. Five of the saves came in the final 5:00 of the game after the Wildcats pulled Tolvanen for the extra attacker. Beydoun earned his second win of the season.

"I just knew that I had to shut down plays and control what I could late in the game," Beydoun said. "I needed to limit second chances and cover the puck.

"Getting a split after a tough game on the road last night, especially with the rivalry, feels pretty good. It's nice coming back home and getting the W."

Tech outshot NMU 39-29 in the game, taking 14 in the first, 16 in the second, and nine in the third.

The Huskies were 2-for-4 on the power play and 1-1 on the penalty kill.

Tech remains at home next weekend, hosting Alabama Huntsville. Friday is Vollwerth's Family Night and Saturday is Keweenaw Chevrolet's Jam the Stands Night. The puck will drop at 7:07 p.m. in the second meeting between the two teams.