HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech hockey team fell 3-2 in its home and WCHA opener to Alaska Friday (Oct. 11) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Huskies scored two goals after being down 3-0 but couldn't complete the comeback.
"Alaska played a really good hockey game," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "They played with a lot of energy and compete. We didn't skate as well or get around the puck as much. It's early in the season and we'll continue to look at things to work on to get better."
Down by three with 8:00 left in the second period, Brian Halonen finally got the 3,700 fans on their feet with his second goal of the season. His tap in goal at the doorstep was set up on a nice passing play from Trenton Bliss and Logan Pietila.
"It was just a great play by my teammates," Halonen said. "I just had to have my stick on the ice and finish it off.
Tommy Parrottino made it a one-goal game late with 1:14 remaining after Coach Shawhan pulled goaltender Matt Jurusik for the extra attacker with 2:55 on the clock. A long shot by Colin Swoyer deflected off of Parrottino with Alex Smith picking up the secondary assist.
The Huskies continued the pressure in the final moments of the game, looking for the equalizer. Smith, Parker Saretsky, and Alec Broetzman got shots off, but Alaska goaltender Gustavs Grigals stopped two of the shots, and he got a block in front of him from one of his defensemen to seal the victory.
Alaska outshot Tech 22-18 on the evening. The Nanooks held a 12-4 shots advantage in the second and the Huskies racked up 11 in the third.
Jake Crespi thought he scored his first career goal 13:00 into the game but officials waved it off immediately for a high stick.
Alaska opened scoring 12 seconds into the second with a long screenshot off the stick of Kylar Hope.
The Nanooks added to the lead just over 4:00 later when Justin Young put in a rebound in front of the Tech crease.
Chris Jandric made it 3-0 in favor of the visitors with a power-play tally at 11:41.
Each team was whistled for six minor penalties. Tech was 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
"Our power play needs to get a lot better," added Shawhan. "That was a big thing tonight. We need to be a lot faster and more determined with faster puck movement and better reads. We need to continue to work on that and make it a strength of our team."
Michigan Tech held a moment of silence for Don Daavettila in the pregame. Daavettila was the Manager of Off-Ice Officials and Head Timekeeper at home hockey games for 40 years, starting in 1971 at Dee Stadium. He passed away on July 31 at the age of 84.
The two teams will wrap up the WCHA series at 6:07 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 12) in their second of four games against each other this season.