After nearly a month without a game in Houghton, the Huskies were back in action against the bulldogs of Ferris State this weekend for two games in which a starting goalie didn’t make it to the end of the game. A rough second period on Friday with three goals carried the Bulldogs to the win despite a comeback by Michigan Tech. Saturday’s game started out positive for the visitors, but five unanswered Husky goals earned the weekend split for the home team.

Friday Night

Michigan Tech came out buzzing in the first period putting constant pressure on Justin Kapelmaster (G, So. – FSU), but unable to get any of the early shots past him. The power play following Jacob Hetz’s (F, Jr. – FSU) slash at 2:38 had fantastic puck movement and ample chances, but Kapelmaster turned everything away. A second man advantage at 7:44 due to a Joe Rutkowski (D, So. – FSU) hold didn’t contain as many chances as the Huskies were stopped again. The penalty kill got its first workout of the night at 11:28 as Keegan Ford (D, So.) was whistled for interference, but Ferris was also unable to score with the extra man. Tech’s final chance on the power play came at 13:37 on the first break following the power play with a hold on Ray Brice (F. So.) by Drew Dorantes (F, Sr. – FSU). The only goal of the period came at the 18:19 mark with Jake Jackson (F, Jr.) cleaning up the rebound of a Brent Baltus (F, Sr.) shot to beat Kapelmaster low glove side. Tech absolutely dominated the shot count for the period 21-7.

The second was all Ferris, the visitors scored three goals from five on five play with the first coming at 5:12. A blocked shot by Mitch Reinke (D, So.) found its way to Drew Dorantes’s stick and he was able to beat Packy Munson (G, Jr.) high glove side to tie up the game. The Bulldogs earned their second power play of the game after Grayson Reitmeier () pulled down a Bulldog in the slot at 5:25. Although unable to convert, Ferris scored again at 9:15 with Coale Norris (F, Fr. – FSU) putting the puck past Munson on a shot from the above far face off dot. The final goal of the period came at 14:31 as Munson turned the puck over in the corner to Taylor Fernandez (F, So. -FSU) who was able to find Crag Pefley (F, So. – FSU) in front of the goalie-less net to bring the score to three to one. Robbie Beydoun (G, Fr.) was brought off the bench to relieve Munson following the third goal. Ferris edged the Huskies on the shot counter for the second, 12-10.

The Huskies weren’t going out without a fight, and quick goal to start the third set the tone for the period. Kapelmaster allowed a Ferris skater to attempt to clear the puck rather than cover it in his crease, but Justin Misiak (F, Fr.) was able to sweep it towards the goal for his fourth goal of the season bringing the lead to only one. The game was evened up at the 9:21 mark after Jackson forced a turnover and found Baltus waiting in the slot for the one timer. Ferris wasn’t done either and at 14:52 a redirected shot from Ryker Killens (D, Jr. – FSU) found Drew Dorantes on the side of the net for his second of the night. Even though the Huskies had several quality chances in the final seconds with the empty net, Kapelmaster held on for the Bulldogs. Shots in the third were once again dominated by the Huskies 17-6.

Quite a frustrating result given the solid performance in the first and third periods, but a hockey game is sixty minutes long and the Huskies need that compete level for the entire game. Beydoun looked solid coming off the bench and even though the power play was once again unsuccessful for the night, it showed signs of improvement.

Saturday Night

The first period on Saturday had both teams looking good up and down the ice with chances both ways. A Dane Birks (D, Jr.) boarding call behind the Huskies’ net gave Ferris the first power play of the game at 5:08, but Ferris was unable to score on the man advantage. Tech gained their own chance at 13:46 after a Killins interference call, but the team scoring wasn’t the Huskies. A shorthand goal by Jasen Fernsler (F, So – FSU) at 15:45 following a poor pass by Beydoun that found him at the blue line. Keegan Ford (D, So.) blocked the first shot, but Fernsler was able to pick up the pick and beat Beydoun stick side to get the only goal of the night for the Bulldogs. The Huskies answered on another unassisted goal at 18:14 mark as Alex Gillies (F. Sr.) intercepted a Nate Kallen (D, So – FSU) pass at the Ferris blue line leading to a breakaway goal as he beat Kapelmaster high stick side. Tech lead the shot count 16-12.

Once again Ferris had more shots in the second compared to the Huskies, but this time it was Tech with three goals in the period. Ferris gained the first chance of the period, however, with a Todd Kiilunen (D. So.) interference call at 5:50, but the Tech penalty kill stood tall and the game remained tied. Tech took the lead at 11:09 as Gavin Gould lost the puck on a drive to the net, but it found Jake Lucchini (F, Jr.) for the five hole goal on Kapelmeister. A Trevor Recktenwald (F, Jr. – FSU) hooking call at 14:01 led to the only power play goal of the weekend for the Huskies as Tech scored at 14:19. In front of the net, Alex Smith (F, So.) whiffed on his first shot attempt sending Kapelmeister to the ice and Smith was able to put the puck under the outreached pad to bring the Huskies to three to one. The final Husky goal of the period came at 17:01 as Dylan Stemen’s (F, Sr.) shot bounced up off of Zach Yoder’s (D, So.) stick, into his knee, and finally between Kapelmeister’s legs for Stemen’s first of the year. The Huskies trailed in shots for the period 14-9.

The only goal of the chippy third came early at 3:14 on another Jackson breakaway as Smith found him streaking up the middle of the ice for his team leading eighth goal of the season. Beydoun was forced to make several excellent saves in the period, but the Huskies held on as the penalties racked up for both teams with eleven minors in the period, although six were coincidental. Shots were quite low for both teams, 8-6 lead there for the Huskies.

Much better performance between the pipes for the Huskies tonight as Beydoun controlled his rebounds well, the only goal against was on him with the poor clearance, otherwise a solid night for the freshman. The offense clicked as well in a display the team is capable of night in and night out. This is the type of game the Huskies should be expected to play.

Weekend Three Stars

  1. Robbie Beydoun – First collegiate win on Saturday and was solid Friday. Hopefully some competition can create some consistency in the net for the Huskies
  2. Jake Jackson – Two goals this weekend and the assist that earned another. Several breakaways as well that he didn’t convert on. His speed is fun to watch.
  3. Alex Smith – Two assists and goal. Showing great chemistry with his linemates, great to see scoring from another line.

Play of the Weekend

Jackson’s goal on Saturday. Great saucer pass from Smith that split the D. Jackson fought off the slash and deked the goalie to get him committed to the left and beat him low right side for his second of the weekend.

Around the WCHA

All teams were busy in conference games this week.

Alabama – Huntsville @ Bowling Green

The charges take 2 points with the shootout win Friday after a 3-3 tie, but the Falcons get 4 on the weekend after a 3-1 win Saturday.

Northern Michigan @ Bemidji State

Two OT games on the weekend 1-1 Friday and a 4-4 game Saturday. The Wildcats take 4 points after winning both shootouts.

(8) Minnesota State @ Lake Superior

The Mavericks dominated in the Soo winning 5-1 and 7-0.

Alaska @ Alaska – Anchorage

The Nanooks sealed up the Governor’s Cup with the series in Fairbanks still to come in late February by sweeping again. 7-2 and 3-2

Cover photo credit Michigan Tech Athletics.