MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Special teams were the name of the game Saturday (Oct. 29) as the Michigan Tech hockey team earned a WCHA sweep of rival Northern Michigan with a 5-1 win at the Berry Events Center. All six goals were scored either on a power play or shorthanded.
The Huskies shutout NMU 2-0 Friday (Oct. 28) in Houghton and scored three goals in the first period, and two in the second Saturday while getting another stellar goaltending performance out of freshman Angus Redmond, who finished with 29 saves. Tech improved to 3-5-2 overall and 3-2-1-1 in the WCHA.
As expected in a rivalry game, the two teams combined for 65 minutes of penalties on 20 calls.
"It wasn't the prettiest game tonight, but it was a big win on the road against our archrival and three huge points," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "Angus was outstanding again and our special teams was good. Our penalty kill did an excellent job and our goaltender was our best penalty killer all night."
Dylan Steman, Tyler Heinonen and Brent Baltus scored the first period goals, all in a less than a 5:00 span.
Steman buried his second of the season with a shorthanded tally 13:52 into the game. The unassisted goal was the 16th of his career.
"That first goal was huge," added Pearson. "To get that early lead on a good goaltender was big. And then we were able to capitalize on our power play chances moments later to get them on their heels."
Heinonen made it a two-goal game 4:04 later with a 5-on-3 power play goal from Alex Smith and Mitch Reinke.
Baltus made it 3-0 only 40 seconds later with his first of the year and 16th of his career. Mark Auk and goaltender Redmond assisted on the power play goal.
The two teams combined for 32 minutes of penalties in the middle frame with the Huskies being called for six. Redmond had to stand tall early during a 5-on-3, finishing the period with eight saves.
Reinke got into the scoring column 12:14 into the second with the first of his career. His blast from inside the blue line gave Tech a 4-0 lead with assists going to Shane Hanna and Gavin Gould who picked up his first career point.
Michael Neville added to the lead with his second goal in the last three games. The Huskies were shorthanded and Dane Birks found him streaking up ice for a breakaway. Cliff Watson added the secondary assist.
"Mike Neville had a real good weekend on the penalty kill and faceoffs," said Pearson. "He really deserved that goal, and it was a timely goal when Northern was pushing us a bit."
NMU (2-5-1, 1-4-1-1 WCHA) finally broke the Redmond seal 50 seconds into the third period with a goal on a two-man advantage. The freshman had stonewalled the Wildcats in the first 100 minutes and 10 seconds of the series. Robbie Payne scored the home team's only goal.
Northern outshot the Huskies 30-23. Atte Tolvanen took the loss, giving up the first four goals, stopping 10 shots. Mathias Israelsson played the final 27:46, finishing with eight saves.
"Thanks to all the fans who traveled down here," Pearson added. "We have some of the best fans in college hockey and they've really helped us through this tough road schedule to begin the season."
Tech heads back on the road for a nonconference series at Michigan State next weekend (Nov. 4-5).