Michigan Tech shuts out St. Thomas Friday

Blake Pietila earned his nation-leading fifth shutout of the season and extended his school record with his 15th career shutout after making 27 saves.
Published: Jan. 14, 2023 at 9:18 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The No. 13 Michigan Tech remained undefeated in 2023 with a 2-0 shutout of St. Thomas Friday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Blake Pietila earned his nation-leading fifth shutout of the season and extended his school record with his 15th career shutout after making 27 saves.

“St. Thomas played hard, blocked shots, and created scoring chances,” Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. “If we didn’t have a great goaltender, it would’ve been a very different game.”

Tech improved to 15-6-3 overall and 8-4-3 in the CCHA with Coach Shawhan’s 110th career win.

Pietila, the CCHA Goaltender of the Week who was named to the Mike Richter Award Watch List this week for the third straight season, stopped 10 shots in the first, 11 in the second, and six in the third. His .926 save percentage is the highest amongst goaltenders who have played 20 games this season.

Blake made a big right pad save on a breakaway with 4:45 left in the first and then stoned the Tommies on a great chance in the final seconds of the second.

Parker Saretsky finally broke the ice with the eventual game-winning goal 8:49 into the third. Jake Crespi rushed the puck up the ice and found Saretsky at the blue line. He beat his defenseman for a quick breakaway and scored backhanded for his fifth of the season and 12th of his career. Evan Orr also assisted.

“There was a lot of ice with 4-on-4,” Saretsky said. “I tried to gain some speed around the net and the D man had a loose gap. Crespi dished me the puck, and I just took it to the net.”

Tech was whistled for a penalty with 6:06 left in the third. Blake Pietila made three big saves and got a block from defenseman Brett Thorne.

St. Thomas (5-15-1, 4-10-1 CCHA) pulled its goaltender for the extra attacker with 2:47 remaining. Tristan Ashbrook made it 2-0 with an empty netter 20 seconds later. He powered through a slash and flipped in a backhander, scoring for the second straight game with his sixth of the season and 33rd of his career. Kash Rasmussen assisted on the play.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” added Shawhan. “I knew guys were tired after our long trip and with the first week of classes. Our guys just continue to find a way, and the third period was our best period.”

The Huskies led in shots 38-27. Aaron Trotter stopped 36 shots for the visitors.

The teams will meet for a fourth time this season on Saturday on Junior Hockey Night. Youth can get into the game for $5 with the purchase of an adult ticket. There is also Skate with the Huskies after the game.

“We have to weather their push at the start of the game tomorrow,” added Saretsky. “If we stick to our game plan and stay tight on the gaps in the D zone and neutral zone, I think we can have a good result again.”

The puck drops at 6:07 p.m.