Gould hat trick leads to sweep of Alaska

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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Michigan Tech defeated Alaska 7-2 Saturday (Nov. 24) to complete the weekend sweep and improve to 6-0 in the WCHA. The Huskies have now won 16 straight games over the Nanooks and were fueled offensively by Gavin Gould's second career hat trick.

"We came out and competed hard tonight," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "I thought we were good in every aspect of the game. I'm happy with the effort all around for sure. A lot of guys played extremely well tonight. It was a great team effort."

Gould scored the first three goals for the Black and Gold. He cleaned up a rebound in front of the net 4:15 into the game after a long shot by Tyler Rockwell. Dylan Steman added the second assist.

Alaska (2-10-2, 2-5-1 WCHA) tied it up on the power play 3:00 into the second on a long shot by Antti Virtanen. Tyler Cline and Sam Ruffin assisted.

Gould got back to work only 26 seconds later. He backhanded another rebound out front to give the Huskies the lead again. Raymond Brice and Zach Noble assisted.

Gould buried his third of the night, and fifth of the season, 4:11 later. He caught a cross-ice, stretch pass from Jake Lucchini and wristed a shot from the top of the circle that found the back of the net before the hats littered the ice.

"I've had a little bit of a slower start offensively," Gould said. "We're still trying to find the right line combinations that work. I know I've been getting chances all season and they haven't been going in. Tonight, they went in."

The Huskies (7-5, 6-0 WCHA) broke it open from there. Brian Halonen made it 4-1 at 8:59, scoring his second of the weekend. The goal was unassisted as he picked up a loose puck behind the net and wrapped it around for his fourth of the season.

Alex Smith joined the party 1:12 into the third period with a power play tally from Jake Lucchini for his first of the season. He blasted a slap shot from the left of UAF goaltender Gustavs Grigals for the 16th goal of his career.

Lucchini made it 6-1 with a one-timer on the power play from Seamus Donohue at 4:59. The goal capped off a three-point night for the captain—his third of the season.

"We got great contributions from Gavin, obviously, and Lucchini," added Shawhan. "Smith also had a nice goal on the power play. We need those guys to play well if we want to have long-range success this season."

Rockwell scored the final tally for Tech for his first career goal 8:28 into the third. He one-timed a pass from Dylan Steman and the puck redirected into the back of the net. Rockwell also had a three-point night with a pair of assists.

"Dylan gave me a great saucer pass on my stick on the two-on-one," Rockwell said. "I really don't know how the puck went in, but I'll take it."
The third period was littered with penalties and the Nanooks potted a goal at 13:17 to finish off scoring. Tristan Thompson scored from Colton Leiter and Steven Jandric.

The Huskies outshot the Nanooks 60-29 Saturday, totaling 108 shots on the weekend. Matt Jurusik had 27 saves for the Huskies in his return to the crease, including a big stop on a breakaway with 6:00 left in the second period. Anton Martinsson had 26 saves in the first 29:00 for Alaska, while Grigals finished off the game with 27 saves in 31:00 of action.

Tech was 2-for-7 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill as the two teams combined for 20 penalties.

The last time the Huskies scored seven goals was on March 4, 2017, when they defeated Lake Superior State 8-0 to sweep a WCHA Quarterfinal playoff series at home.

Gould scored his first career hat trick the following weekend on March 12, 2017, when the Huskies defeated Minnesota State 4-1 in the WCHA Semifinals to advance to the WCHA Championship Game.

Tech will remain at home next weekend (Nov. 30-Dec. 1), hosting Bemidji State in the first of two meetings between the two teams.

"It's nice to be at home," Shawhan said. "We've been playing excellent hockey lately. Hopefully, our fans enjoy this home stretch. They're an important part of our program."