HOUGHTON, Mich. - Michigan Tech fell 3-2 to Northern Michigan on Saturday (Feb. 29) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena to wrap up the regular season. The two teams will now meet in a best-of-three WCHA First Round Playoff series next weekend in Marquette to begin the postseason.
"It was a winner take all environment," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "We haven't played great on our home ice all season and you have to credit Northern Michigan. It was a good hockey game. Now we get a chance to play them a couple more times. We're all looking forward to it. This is how college hockey should be."
Down 2-1 late in the third, Trenton Bliss sent a stretch pass up to Tommy Parrottino as he broke into the zone. Parrottino caught the puck and flipped it over the goalie's glove to tie the game with 4:45 remaining. It was his 10th goal of the season with Colin Swoyer picking up the secondary assist. There was a lengthy review after the play was challenged by the NMU coach for potential offsides.
NMU scored the game-winner with 1:03 remaining when Darien Craighead finished off a 2-on-1 break. Logan Pietila had a chance moments before, but goaltender Nolan Kent came way out of his crease and managed to get the puck out of harm's way.
"That was an unfortunate goal there at the end," added Shawhan. "We were going after the loose puck and everybody jumped up. They were able to come the other way and pop it in."
Brenden Datema opened scoring with his first collegiate goal with 3:36 left in the first period. Greyson Reitmeier won a faceoff back to Datema and he blasted in a one-timer to get the 4,000 fans on their feet.
Luke Voltin tied the game 4:08 into the second period from Brandon Schultz and then Andre Ghantous scored an unassisted tally 58 seconds later to give the Wildcats the 2-1 lead.
The two teams combined for seven penalties that were all called in the second period.
NMU led in shots 29-24. Matt Jurusik had 26 saves for Tech and Kent stopped 22 shots for Northern.
Seniors Raymond Brice, Keegan Ford, Matt Jurusik, Todd Kiilunen, and Alex Smith were honored after the game. All five started the game for the Huskies.
"They re-established our locker room," Shawhan said. "All of those guys are extremely high character guys and they've done a great job leading us."
Tech finished the regular season with a 19-15-3 overall record and 14-12-2-0 mark in the WCHA. The Huskies are the No. 6 seed in the WCHA Playoffs. Full details on the playoff series will be announced soon.