MARQUETTE, Mi. Tommy Parrottino netted the second consecutive Huskies' hat trick at the Berry Events Center to lead Michigan Tech to a 4-1 win over Northern Michigan Friday in Game 1 of the WCHA First Round series. The Huskies scored four straight goals after falling behind early in the first period.
"I'm proud and humbled by the effort we put in tonight," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "We had a lot of nervous young men early. A lot of guys stepped up and played really big minutes. We settled in and got better and better as the game went on."
Down 1-0 late in the second period, Alex Smith tipped in a centering feed by Justin Misiak to tie the game with 1:21 left before the second intermission. Alec Broetzman added the second assist on Smith's seventh goal of the season and career-high 23rd point of his senior campaign.
The Huskies dominated the early stages of the third period. Parrottino scored the go-ahead goal 2:20 after puck drop. Logan Pietila won the offensive zone faceoff into the slot, and Parrottino quickly snapped in his 11th goal of the season as he fell down.
Tech had to kill off a penalty with 7:28 left, relying on goaltender Matt Jurusik to hold the lead.
NMU pulled its goaltender with 1:44 remaining. Parrottino made it a two-goal game after a save by Jurusik and clear out of the zone. Parrottino beat the defenseman to the puck in front of the Tech bench and went in on a breakaway for the 3-1 lead with 1:12 left.
The Wildcats pulled the goalie again after a timeout and Pietila chipped the puck out of the zone. Parrottino won a battle at center ice and again went in alone to seal the victory and bury his 13th goal of the season and get the natural hat trick.
"Everybody played their role tonight," said Shawhan. "Parrottino was good all night. Not just on the goals, and Jurusik did his job and was good in net."
Northern held a 35-30 advantage in shots. Jurusik stopped seven shots in the first, 11 in the second, and 16 in the third. Nolan Kent had 26 saves for the home team and also had shots by Broetzman and Keegan Ford hit the crossbar behind him.
NMU (18-15-4) got on the board 1:54 into the game when Hank Sorensen sent a wrist shot through traffic that found the back of the net. Brandon Schultz assisted on the play.
The teams combined for five minor penalties. Both squads were 0-for-2 on the power play.
Parrottino also had a natural hat trick on October 26 in a 4-1 win at Bowling Green. Trenton Bliss had a hat trick a week ago at the Berry Events Center in an 8-4 win over NMU. Tech leads the nation with five hat tricks this season. The last time Tech had five hat tricks in a season was 1983-84 and four of the seven that season were scored against NMU.
Tech improved to 20-15-3 overall and has now won 20 games for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series will be at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
"They're better on Saturday nights, and we learned that last weekend," added Shawhan. "We know it's not going to be easy tomorrow, so we need to rest up and be ready."