MTU Huskies Get Late Goal To Make CCHA Finals

Story, photo courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletcs

 With overtime looming in the CCHA Mason Cup Semifinal, the nation's active leader in game-winning goals wanted to end it in regulation, scoring with 9.1 seconds left to lift Michigan Tech over Minnesota State 4-3 Saturday at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Logan Pietila sealed the win with the final two tallies for the Huskies and his 13th career game-winner.

"I've never really felt a pulse like this team in my 35-plus years of coaching," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "There is a lot of heart and love in that room. I don't ever count these guys out. They battled it out to the very end and it paid off."

Michigan Tech advanced to the CCHA Mason Cup Championship Game at Bemidji State on Friday, March 22. The Beavers defeated Lake Superior State 4-1 in the late semifinal.

"It's been a crazy five years," Logan said. "We've come up short the last couple of years in this game. We're excited we get a chance next Friday."

Down 3-2 6:00 into the third period, the Huskies had to dig deep to keep their season alive. Tech was on its second power play of the night, and the Mavs were whistled for covering the puck in the crease. Coach Shawhan had a decision to make—go for the 5-on-3 or take the penalty shot. He turned to Logan.

"There was no hesitation," said Shawhan. "Logan was shooting and that was what's happening."

On the penalty shot, Logan Pietila fired the puck past the goaltender's glove to tie the game with 4:32 remaining to send the Mac into a frenzy. It was his 12th goal of the season.

Tech (18-14-6) continued to pressure in the third period, outshooting the visitors 15-9. Late in the period, Logan Pietila took a shot at the net from the top of the circle. Goaltender Alex Tracy deflected the shot up behind the net. It hit the glass and bounced high and back out front, off a Maverick defenseman, off of Tracy's helmet, and into the back of the net with 9.1 seconds left for his 45th career goal.

"I knew there wasn't much time left on the clock," said Logan. "I just got it towards the net. Not really sure what happened, and we were looking at each other wondering who actually scored it."

Blake added, "I got chills after the penalty shot goal and the last goal. The fans were going nuts It was fun with my view of it all. We just had to bear down for the last nine seconds."

MSU (18-15-4) led on three different occasions. Lucas Sowder opened scoring 7:08 into the game.

Jack Works
 tied the game 3:00 into the second period when a centering feed by Max Koskipirtti deflected off his skate and in. Tyrone Bronte added the second assist on the 10th goal of the season by Works.

Will Hillman gave the visitors their lead back with a goal on a rebound from Tyler Haskins and Mason Wheeler at 9:13 of the second.

The Huskies entered the third period on the power play and Kash Rasmussen cashed in with a one-timer in the slot from Max Koskipirtti to tie the game 2-2. Ryland Mosley also assisted on Rasmussen's third of the season and eighth of his career.

MSU took the lead again when Adam Eisele scored from Luc Wilson 5:57 into the third.

Tech led in shots 38-32. Blake Pietila earned his 75th career victory, making 29 saves. He made a miraculous pad save late in the second period. Brian Carrabes was alone in front with a sprawling, Blake. The All-American slid to the right and kicked up his left pad to keep it a one-goal lead for the Mavs.

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