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Tuesday January 26, 2021
Michigan Tech Completes Hockey Sweep Of UAH

This story was written by Michigan Tech Athletics. (MTU Photo)

SUNDAY GAME RECAP

 

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech defeated Alabama Huntsville 2-1 Sunday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena to earn a WCHA sweep and win its fifth straight game. The Huskies got a pair of goals in a 93-second span in the first period and held on to improve to 6-3-1 overall and 2-0 in the WCHA.


"I'm happy to get the win, and I'm happy for Mark playing against his old team," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "We weren't able to get separation with another goal so every shot he faced down the stretch was a critical shot. I'm very happy for him, and I thought he stood tall tonight."


Tech goaltender Mark Sinclair earned his first win with 19 saves against his former team. He stopped seven shots in the first, three in the second, and nine in the third.


"It was nice to get the win," Sinclair said. "The guys played great in front of me and made my job pretty easy. It was a full team win and definitely nice to get the first one.


"I had a good skate this morning with Blake [Pietila] and Jamie [Phillips]. I was looking forward to getting the start but treated it like any other game. It was different at first seeing those jerseys across the ice, but I was able to settle in."


Tyler Rockwell
 opened scoring only 3:14 into the game with his second of the weekend on the power play. He caught a pass in the high slot from Alec Broetzman and floated the same type of shot he scored on Saturday at the net. Rockwell now has two goals on the season and five for his career. Eric Gotz added the second assist.


Chris Lipe
 scored his first of the season and second of his career 1:33 later with a long shot through traffic. Brian Halonen worked the puck around the net and Arvid Caderoth flipped a pass back to Lipe inside the blue line. The shot deflected off a UAH player and into the net.


UAH (0-5-1, 0-2 WCHA) scored its first goal of the weekend when Noah Finstrom found the back of the net at 13:39 of the first. The Chargers worked the puck to the front of the net and a centering feed by Finstrom deflected off a Husky and across the goal line.


Rockwell then made a great defensive play to keep it a one-goal game as he negated a 2-on-1 scoring chance late in the first period.


The Huskies had a number of chances to extend the lead. Justin Misiak almost scored on a rebound in the first period but the shot went wide. Tommy Parrottino had a great chance on a deflection of a Tyrell Buckley shot in the second that was saved. UAH goaltender David Fessenden then made a huge pad save on Brian Halonen at the doorstep in the third.


The Chargers pulled Fessenden in the final 90 seconds but Parrottino blocked a shot and Sinclair had to make one save in the final stages.


Tech outshot UAH 30-20. The Huskies were 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.


The Huskies travel to Minnesota State next weekend to continue a 10-game January.


"I thought this weekend was a step back for us coming off the break," added Shawhan. "Hopefully the intensity and focus will be a little stronger next weekend because Mankato is a great team. They don't give up much at all."


The teams split their first meeting in early December in Houghton.

 


SATURDAY GAME RECAP

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech shutout Alabama Huntsville 4-0 Saturday at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena to begin WCHA play and win its fourth game in a row. Blake Pietila made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season and four different Huskies scored with Trenton BlissNick Nardella, and Tyler Rockwell all tallying a goal and an assist.


"We didn't have the jump we had going into the break, but we got some great efforts from our supporting cast," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "Nardella did a great job, and I thought our goaltending was tremendous. We still need to get better, but it's a good start for the second half."


After a scoreless first period, Tech got the offense rolling with three goals in the second. Brian Halonen scored for the third game in a row as he finished off a setup feed from Nick Nardella 6:42 after intermission. Nardella picked up his first collegiate point with the assist, while Carson Bantle added the secondary helper on Halonen's fourth of the season and 28th of his career.


Nardella then found the back of the net for his first goal. He sent the puck towards the front of the crease and it deflected off a UAH defenseman's skate and into the back of the net at 12:11. Colin Swoyer assisted on the play.


"I've been working really hard in practice to make the lineup," Nardella said. "To get that first one and help the team win feels really good. I saw an opportunity to take it to the net and good things happen when you take it to the net. I kind of got lucky there, but I'll take them any way I can."


"Nick's been working hard every day in practice to get the opportunity," Trenton Bliss said. "I've known him for a long time back to our days with the Gamblers. He's a great kid and it takes one guy like that to get the team rolling and get the momentum on our side."


Bliss scored on the power play with 1:28 left in the second for his fourth goal of the season and 22nd of his career. Eric Gotz blasted a one-timer at the net that bounced off two Chargers and then on to the stick of Bliss for an easy tap in. The alternate captain extended his point streak to five games where he has four goals and five assists. Tyler Rockwell had the secondary assist.


Rockwell made it a four-goal game 13:22 into the third period with his first of the season and fourth of his career. Bliss kept the puck in the zone at the blue line, and Tommy Parrottino also assisted with a pass to Rockwell in the high slot.


Blake Pietila
—the WCHA Goaltender of the Month for December—stopped four shots in the first, five in the second, and nine in the third. He had a big save on a breakaway in the final moments of the first period and on a rebound in the final 2:00 of the third.


"He's sure been consistent and outstanding," added Shawhan. "He earned that shutout tonight with a huge save in each period. It wasn't an easy shutout."


David Fessenden had 26 saves for the visitors as Tech outshot UAH 30-18.


Tech was 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.


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