HOUGHTON, Mich. - An incredible performance between the pipes by sophomore Blake Pietila led Michigan Tech to a 3-1 win over No. 6 Minnesota State in the home opener Sunday (Dec. 6). Pietila earned his first career win in his third start after stopping 43 shots in the game with 18 saves in the second and 16 in the third.
"That was impressive," alternate captain Eric Gotz said. "He bailed us out big time. All kudos to him. He was phenomenal."
"Blake is excellent in practice every day," Assistant coach Chris Brooks said. "His attention to detail is great, and he always has his foot on the gas pedal. He plays every drill right to the end and was rewarded tonight with a great effort. He bailed us out on five or six grade-A scoring chances with big-time saves that helped us beat a great hockey team."
The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals in each of the first two periods.
Logan Ganie opened scoring when he intercepted an errant outlet pass by Minnesota State. Ganie scored his first of the season and fifth of his career when he one-timed the puck from the top of the circle. Carson Bantle provided the pressure around the net that created the turnover.
"Great job by Carson as the first forechecker in creating that turnover," Brooks added. "Logan was on top of the puck and put himself in a great spot and got it off his stick right away."
Eric Gotz made it a two-goal lead in the second on the power play when he blasted in a bouncing pass from Tyler Rockwell inside the blue line. Gotz now has two power-play goals this season and seven goals for his career.
"Coach wanted me to be a shooter," added Gotz. "I wound up and shot. I'm not going to say I aimed it there but it went there."
The Mavericks pressured in the final two periods, generating a number of chances at the Tech net. Pietila stood tall and made huge saves all night, including a number of backdoor chances that he got across the crease for.
Pietila's best save was near the end of the second period when he was down on the ice and had to kick up his leg to stop a sure goal by Brendan Furry.
"He beat me to the far side, so I didn't have any other options besides lifting my leg in the air," Pietila said. "I didn't even see it but I lifted my leg and the puck hit it."
MSU added an extra attacker in the final two minutes and finally broke the seal when Dallas Gerads scored from Reggie Lutz and Akito Hirose with 76 seconds left.
The Mavs were then called for a penalty and Brian Halonen scored into the open net to make it 3-1. Colin Swoyer and Alec Broetzman drew the assists.
MSU outshot Tech 44-24, allowing the Huskies only four shots on goal in the third period. Dryden McKay finished with 21 saves for the visitors.
Tech was 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including killing off a 5:00 major in the first period that carried over into the second.
Freshman Blais Richartz made his debut in a Michigan Tech uniform Sunday.
Pietila's first career start was also against the Mavericks in November 2019.
The two teams will wrap up the nonconference series on Monday (Dec. 7). The puck drops at 5:07 p.m. at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.