Senior Co-Captains Make 100th Career Points as Huskies Sweep Alabama Huntsville
By Calvin Larson | Published
No. 8-ranked Michigan Tech dominated Alabama Huntsville with an 11-1 win on Saturday (Jan. 31) to sweep the WCHA series. Senior co-captains Tanner Kero and Blake Pietila both recorded their 100th career point in the game. Kero had two goals and two assists, while Pietila racked up three assists.
"I'm very happy for Tanner and Blake to reach that milestone," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "They are two guys who are really committed to this program and have come in and really led us.
"They've given us everything. They're having their best years during their senior season and that's what we wanted. I'm extremely happy and proud of them."
The 1987-88 season was the last time the Huskies put up 11 goals in a game and the last time they won 20 games in a season. Tech improved to 20-7-1 overall and 15-4-1 in the WCHA.
"It was a total team effort tonight," added Pearson. "We've had guys come in and step up and do the job. You're only as good as you're weakest link and right now we don't have a weak link."
Thirteen Huskies had a point, nine had a multiple point game, and seven players scored.
The score sheet filled up early and often with two Husky goals in the first minute and a half of the game. 33 seconds in, Kero scored his first of the game on a delayed penalty. Cliff Watson and Malcolm Gould assisted on the goal.
On the ensuring man advantage, Alex Petan (1:17) buried his team-leading fifth power play goal with assists to Max Vallis and Kero. Petan is tied for the nation's lead with 17 points on the man advantage.
The Huskies carried a power play over into the second period and Gould scored 10 seconds in on a feed from Pietila. Joel L'Esperance also assisted.
Vallis scored his first of the year 4:41 into the second with an unassisted tally to make it 4-0.
UAH's (7-18-3, 6-14-0 WCHA) only goal came at the 13:48 mark of the second by Jack Prince.
Brent Baltus (18:19) rounded out the scoring in the second period after a scramble in front of the UAH net. A shot by Baltus ricocheted off a Charger defender into the net. Petan and Matt Roy assisted.
Tech scored six in the third period, including two in the first five minutes after a major penalty was called on the Chargers at the end of the second. Kero (2:32) scored his 13th of the year from Petan and Shane Hanna to put him one point away from the century mark.
L'Esperance scored at the 4:52 and 12:25 marks of the third. Pietila assisted on both and was credited with his 100th career point on the second tally. He became the first player since Chris Connor (2002-05) to join the Century Club.
Watson (16:28) added an unassisted tally for his second of his career and first power play goal.
Kero got his 100th point as he assisted on a goal by Baltus with 52 seconds left in the game. He became the 62nd player in Husky history to hit the century mark.
Jamie Phillips stopped 11 shots for his 19th win of the season.
With the win, the Huskies clinched a spot in the WCHA playoffs. The first round will be March 13-15 in a best-of-three series. The top four seeds will host the bottom four. The winners advance to the WCHA Final Five on March 20-21 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Michigan Tech wraps up its nine-game home stand next weekend (Feb. 6-7) for the annual Winter Carnival series. Bemidji State comes to town undefeated in its last four games. The Huskies swept (2-1, 4-2) the Beavers Nov. 14-15 in Minnesota.
Friday's game starts at 7:07 p.m. with a 5:07 p.m. puck drop for Saturday. Tickets for the games are $17 for reserved adult seats and $5 for youth reserved seats. They can be purchased at the Central Ticket Office in the Student Development Complex, online at BuyHuskiesTickets.com or over the phone by calling 906-487-2073.
GAME NOTES: Kero has 48 goals and 52 assists in his career…Pietila has 43 goals and 57 assists…Petan was credited with the game winner and is now second in the nation with seven…Tech last scored 11 on Dec. 19, 1987 against Minnesota (11-3)…Tech's 100 goals this season rank third in the country…The Huskies are second in wins (20), second in scoring margin (1.64), and third in scoring defense (1.93).
Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.