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Michigan Tech Slows Down Minnesota State For a 3-1 Win

Sophomore goalie Blake Pietila was outstanding for Michigan Tech stopping 43 of 44 shots, including 16 of 17 in a third period where the Huskies could barely leave their own zone to lead Michigan Tech to a 3-1 victory over Minnesota State on Sunday evening in the first of a two game series.

Here’s the final scoring:

First Period

15:38 Logan Ganie unassisted 1-0 Michigan Tech

A heavy forecheck by Carson Bantle forced a Minnesota State turnover in their own zone. Ganie intercepted the loose puck near the left circle and one-timed a shot past McKay for the goal.

Second Period

6:32 Eric Gotz from Tyler Rockwell and Logan Pietila (power play) 2-0 Michigan Tech

Rockwell held in a weak clearing attempt at the blue line. He passed it across the blue line to Gotz at the left point and Gotz’ one-timer beat McKay high.

Third Period

18:44 Dallas Gerads from Reggie Lutz and Akito Hirose (extra attacker goal) 2-1 Michigan Tech

After extended pressure in the Michigan Tech zone with the goalie pulled, Minnesota State finally got a shot through Pietila when Lutz’ shot from the point was deflected in front by Gerads.

19:56 Brian Halonen from Colin Swoyer and Alec Broetzman (empty net goal) 3-1 Michigan Tech

Halonen iced the game with a late empty-netter

Notes and Thoughts

-Blake Pietila was the star of the night making 43 stops and narrowly missing a shutout on a late extra attacker goal. I thought for the most part, Tech did a good job of clogging things up and limiting the really Grade-A chances, but Pietila definitely had a few, including this one:

-Minnesota State spent much of the past two weeks shut down due to Covid protocol and came out looking like it. They were slow out of the gate and weren’t quite as crisp moving the puck as they’d normally be. I think I counted three players completely fanning on pucks. They turned it around in a big way midway through the game, but by that point, they had dug themselves in a 2-0 hole, and that’s hard to climb out of against a team so willing to pack things in defensively like Michigan Tech.

-Not helping Minnesota State’s case was that they probably should have had a goal in the first period that ended up being waved off due to an officiating disaster. Here’s the video:

It appeared as though one of the officials assumed the net came off on the play, which it never did, and blew the whistle before the puck crossed the goal line.

Even more astounding is that there was no penalty for interference called on the play.

-Minnesota State did get a major power play late in the first period that they weren’t able to convert on. Again, it looked like everything was moving just a little too fast for them due to the layoff and they weren’t able to execute like they wanted.

-Once the Mavericks got things midway through the second period, it’s hard to understate just how much they controlled possession. They started the third period with 2:30 straight in the Michigan Tech, in which the Mavericks were able to change all five players off the ice without losing possession. Shots in the final frame were 17-4 in favor of the Mavericks, attempts were likely way more lopsided.

And yet: penalty calls in the third period somehow ended up 1-1. Minnesota State’s, which came after they scored to get within one, was deserved, as Nathan Smith Chara’d an opponents stick out of his hands behind the play. But for a team that spent roughly 19:30 of the final frame chasing the play to only commit infraction seems questionable.