Michigan Tech's defense holds strong to upset top-ranked Minnesota
HOUGHTON, Mich. -- Michigan Tech buried its scoring chances and freshman goaltender Pheonix Copley played a strong game as the Huskies defeated No. 1 Minnesota 5-3. Blake Pietila scored two goals and Dennis Rix added a goal and an assist to help Tech improve to 2-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 in WCHA play.
The host team scored just 3:32 into the game, building a 3-1 lead after one period and a 5-2 lead after two en route to the win.
"We got off to a good start," head coach Mel Pearson said. "[Alex] Petan scored a great goal, and things seemed to go in for us. We really capitalized on our chances."
Petan scored the game's opening goal. Fellow freshman Jujhar Khaira passed to Petan on a 2-on-1 breakaway. The pass was out in front of Petan. He dived to stop the puck, then stood up and buried a shot into the top right corner.
Minnesota (2-1-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) tied the score with a four-on-four goal after Nate Schmidt put home a rebound at the 9:13 mark.
The Huskies answered five minutes later with back-to-back goals. Blake Pietila tipped a shot from Ryan Furne on a power play at the 14:48 mark. Twenty-two seconds later, Dennis Rix scored his third goal in three games with a tap in off a C.J. Eick centering pass.
The Gophers pulled within one point when Nick Bjugstad netted a shot 2:51 into the second period. Again, the Huskies answered with two goals.
Rix feathered a pass to Chad Pietila on a breakaway and Pietila didn't miss. Minnesota changed goaltenders after the tally, but Michigan Tech scored the next goal anyway.
Copley made several big saves to keep the Huskies in a 5-2 lead deep into the third period. The Gophers finally scored on the power play with little over two minutes remaining. UM brought on the extra attacker for the final 1:57, but Tech was able withstand the pressure.
"Pheonix played a heck of a hockey game," Pearson said. "He was a difference maker for us [Friday]."
The Huskies' netminder made 28 saves on 31 Gopher shots. Tech put 26 shots on goal. Both teams were 1-for-3 on the power play.