SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Michigan Tech hockey team earned a nonconference split with a 4-2 win over No. 12 Notre Dame Saturday (Jan. 7) from the Compton Family Ice Center. The Huskies improved to 14-9-3 and wrapped up nonconference play with the win, getting goals from four different players.
The Huskies scored the game's final two goals with the game-winner coming from senior Michael Neville and freshman Alex Smith scoring the insurance goal later in the third. Smith also had an assist in the second period for his third multipoint game of the season.
"It was a total team effort," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "We did a lot of little things better tonight than last night. We competed harder, won more battles along the boards, and we finally hit the net.
"For us to come in here and put a four spot up on them, and get a big win on the road, is good. This will give us a little confidence going into next weekend."
The two teams entered the third period knotted up at two. Neville's go-ahead goal was scored 4:23 into the final frame after he shot in a loose puck that fluttered past UND goaltender Cal Petersen's shoulder. It was Neville's second game-winner of the season and fifth tally overall. Matt Roy assisted on the play with a blast from the point that hit a defenseman before bouncing on to Neville's stick.
Tech kept pressure up after the goal, using a power play to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Joel L'Esperance peppered Petersen with three quick shots during the man advantage, including one that drew iron.
The Huskies then had to kill off a penalty, and Smith added to the lead 10 seconds after UND's power play expired, scoring on a 2-on-1 rush. He carried the puck into the zone and flipped a shot over Petersen's blocker for his fifth of the year with assists going to Reid Sturos and Cliff Watson.
Notre Dame (12-7-2) added the extra attacker for a few seconds in the late stages, but the Huskies sealed their first win in South Bend since November 1982 with a few blocked shots.
The home team took the lead in the first period on a power play goal by Bobby Nardella 11:56 into the game.
Jake Jackson tied it up for Tech as he finished off a pass from Smith for his fifth of the year only 2:04 into the second. Smith carried it into the zone on a 2-on-1 and fed it over to Jackson who calmly chipped it up over Petersen.
Gavin Gould then gave the Huskies their first lead of the weekend with the fourth of his freshman season almost six minutes later. He carried the puck out from the corner and took a shot that hit a defenseman's skate and deflected into the net. Jake Lucchini and Shane Hanna assisted on the play.
Notre Dame evened it up at two 9:28 into the second, as Cam Morrison went 1-on-1 with his defender and fired to score over the far side on Angus Redmond.
Neville had a chance to take the lead late in the second when he made a move to get Petersen out of his net but couldn't get a shot off into the open cage.
Tech outshot UND 34-25, taking 12 shots in each of the first two periods. Redmond finished with 23 saves for the second night in a row. Petersen stopped 30 shots for the home team.
The Huskies return home for two WCHA series in a row, beginning against the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves next weekend (Jan. 13-14).
"I'm looking forward to getting some home games, and we have a good Anchorage team coming in," said Pearson.
Tech won and tied with the Seawolves in November up in Alaska. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. both nights from the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.