Huskies suffer first WCHA defeat Friday

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The No. 20-ranked Michigan Tech hockey team fell 5-3 Friday (Dec. 7) at Northern Michigan. The Wildcats scored three goals in the third period to take the first game of the home-and-away series. Tech is now 8-6-1 overall and 7-1-1-1 in the WCHA.

"My issue isn't the winning or the losing," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "My issue is how we play, and we had about 5:00 in the second period where we played hockey the way we should be playing. You have to credit Northern Michigan for doing that to us.

"I thought our game was coming together for us in the second when we took the lead, but we lost it when they tied it up. The execution just wasn't there, and it's my job to have the team ready to play."

Greyson Reitmeier scored the first two goals for the Huskies. He tied the game up at one 3:55 into the second period when he wristed in a shot from the top of the circle for his third of the season. Tommy Parrottino and Thomas Beretta assisted on the tally.

Just over 11:00 later Reitmeier put the Huskies up 2-1 when he finished off a centering feed from Parrottino. Keegan Ford started the play with a stretch pass from behind his own net all the way up to Beretta entering the offensive zone. Beretta chipped the puck over to a streaking Parrotino for the secondary assist on Reitmeier's ninth career goal.

NMU (7-9-0, 6-3-0-0 WCHA) tied it up before the second period was over on a goal by Ty Readman with 1:58 remaining.

The Wildcats then scored three straight goals to begin the third period. Darien Craighead gave the home team its lead back 51 seconds into the third. Troy Loggins made it 4-2 with 3:29 left.

Goaltender Atte Tolvanen then scored the second goal by a netminder in WCHA history with an empty-netter at 18:53 to make it 5-2. Tech goaltender Damian Rhodes scored the first goal in league history on January 21, 1989.

Trenton Bliss found the back of the net with 8 seconds left in the game after a 5:00 major was called on NMU's Luke Voltin for boarding. Jake Lucchini and Alex Smith assisted on the third goal of the season for Bliss.

Denver Pierce opened the game's scoring 6:20 after puck drop with an unassisted tally.

NMU outshot Tech 33-26. Matt Jurusik had 28 saves for the Huskies—his second most of the season. Tolvanen stopped 23 shots for Northern.

Tech was 1-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.

The two teams will wrap up the first of two meetings this season on Saturday (Dec. 8) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

"We'll see how we'll answer the call tomorrow night in an important rivalry game," added Shawhan. "We'll make some lineup changes to try and ignite something."

The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal for the annual Teddy Bear Toss during the first intermission.