Huskies shutout Wildcats Friday in front of a sellout crowd

For the second home game in a row against NMU, Tyrone Bronte opened the scoring in the second period.
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 4:54 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - No. 13 Michigan Tech shutout rival Northern Michigan 3-0 Friday in front of a sellout crowd at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Blake Pietila earned his third straight Friday shutout and tied his single-season shutout record with his seventh of the season.

“I thought it was a good hockey game. Northern’s a good hockey team, and we did a pretty good job containing their skilled guys,” Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. “We have seven games left against top-caliber teams. Any points we can get from here on out are so important for home ice.”

For the second home game in a row against NMU, Tyrone Bronte opened the scoring in the second period. He found himself wide open in front of the net and Nick Nardella found him from behind the net for his third of the season and eighth of his career.

“I got great linemates and they read it perfectly,” Bronte said. “Nardella put it right on my stick. I guess I like that net against NMU.”

Twins Logan and Blake Pietila were celebrating their birthday Friday and both made clutch plays in the game. Logan made it 2-0 with only 2:29 left in the third period with a great individual play. He gathered a loose puck in the crease and shot between his legs for his eighth of the season and 29th of his career. Kyle Kukkonen and Ryland Mosley assisted.

NMU (12-13, 8-9 CCHA) pulled its goaltender late in the third, and Kyle Kukkonen scored in the empty net for his 10th of the season from Ryland Mosley for a 3-0 lead with 22.8 seconds left.

Blake Pietila made five saves in the first, eight in the second, and seven in the third for his school-record 17th career shutout. His biggest stop came 6:00 into the game as Aiden Gallacher stepped out of the penalty box on a breakaway. The shot went five-hole but Blake closed his pads and kept it out. Pietila’s seven shutouts this season leads the nation.

“This was one of the best games we’ve played this season as a team,” Blake Pietila said. “It’s a little harder only getting 20 shots, but the guys have been playing so well in front of me.”

“There’s no player in the country more valuable than Blake is to our team,” Shawhan said. “His family and relatives are from here, and having someone of Blake’s caliber and ability is great for our community.”

Tech (17-7-4, 10-5-4 CCHA) led in shots 36-20. Beni Halasz stopped 33 shots for the visitors.

Neither team scored on the power play with NMU having four chances and Tech three.

Holiday Inn Express sponsored the game and handed out 1,000 free 7th Man T-shirts to the capacity crowd of 4,179.

The Huskies and Wildcats will wrap up the season and weekend series at 6:07 p.m. Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.