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MEN'S HOCKEY: Michigan Tech blitzes Bemidji State, 4-0

Michigan Tech’s David Johnstone, right, and Bemidji State’s Mitch Cain go for the puck behind the net during Friday’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich. The Huskies won 4-0. David Archambeau | Houghton (Mich.) Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON, Mich. – When Michigan Tech’s David Johnstone scored on Bemidji State goaltender Andrew Walsh just 48 seconds into their Western Collegiate Hockey Association matchup, it looked like the Beavers were in for a long night.

And aside from an eight-minute stretch in the second period, that’s exactly what happened: the Huskies dominated the Beavers for a 4-0 win Friday night.

Michigan Tech (7-12-3, 4-10-3 WCHA) outshot the Beavers (5-12-4, 4-8-3 WCHA) by a 32-25 margin – including a 17-6 first period – to pull even with the Beavers in the conference standings.

Both teams are in 10th place with 11 points apiece; they’ll meet again at 6:07 p.m. tonight at Michigan Tech’s MacInnis Student Ice Arena where the Beavers will look to avoid a season sweep. The Huskies beat the Beavers twice at the Sanford Center in November.

“It was just snowstorm there in the first period, and really the game was over after that,” Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore told Beaver Radio Network following the game. “We played well in the second and third, but they converted and we didn’t, so hats off to those guys.”

Johnstone kicked off the first period with a flourish, beating Walsh with a backhand just 48 seconds into play.

The Huskies added to their lead following a David Boehm penalty later in the period.

Blake Pietila scored a power play goal at the 17:05 mark of the first period, banging home a third rebound try to make it 2-0.

In the second period, the Beavers outshot the Huskies 8-6 but couldn’t turn those shots into goals.

Bemidji State winger Radoslav Illo had perhaps BSU’s best chance of the game midway through the second frame.

Illo, on a breakaway, missed a wide open shot at Tech goaltender Pheonix Copley but got his own rebound and appeared to get it past the Huskies freshman.

However, the puck didn’t make it across the goal line, and an official review confirmed what was originally called on the ice: No goal.

And just a minute later, Tech capitalized where the Beavers could not.

After forcing a turnover in the neutral zone, the Huskies scored on a textbook 3-on-2 odd-man rush at the 11:32 mark. Brad Stebner got the puck to Alex Patan on the right side, who crossed the blue line and fired it back to Pietila, who easily deposited it top-shelf past Walsh for his second goal of the evening.

In the third period, the Huskies put the game out of reach with a goal from sophomore Malcolm Gould just 2:03 into the frame.

Shots were even 9-9 in the third period but the Beavers couldn’t score despite getting a 5-on-3 power play opportunity late in the game.

Copley made 25 saves to earn the win and the shutout for the Huskies. Walsh took the loss, making 28 saves on 32 shots.

Bemidji State 0 0 0 – 0

Michigan Tech 2 1 1 – 4

First Period – 1, MTU, Johnstone (Stebner, Khaira), 0:48; 2, MTU, Pietila (Gould, Gordic), 17:05, PP. Penalties – BSU, Bohem (Slashing), 3:09; MTU, Sova (Elbowing), 11:58; BSU, Boehm (Boarding), 15:11; BSU, Illo (Slashing), 18:37.

Second Period – 3. MTU, Pietila (Stebner, Patan), 11:32. Penalties – MTU, Sweeney (Hooking), 14:35; BSU, Mattson (Cross Checking), 19:31.

Third Period – 4, MTU, Gould (Pietila, Kero), 2:03. Penalties – MTU, Mattson (Game Misconduct), 14:13; MTU, Stebner (Roughing), 17:59; MTU, Rix (Cross Checking), 18:13; BSU, Team (Too Many Men), 19:14.

Goalies – BSU, Walsh (32-28); MTU, Copley (25-25).

Shots On Goal – BSU (8-8-9-25); MTU (17-6-9-35).

Penalties-Minutes – BSU 6-20; MTU, 4-8.

Power Plays – BSU, 0-for-3; MTU 1-for-4.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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