HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech defeated Alabama Huntsville 2-1 Sunday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena to earn a WCHA sweep and win its fifth straight game. The Huskies got a pair of goals in a 93-second span in the first period and held on to improve to 6-3-1 overall and 2-0 in the WCHA.
“I’m happy to get the win, and I’m happy for Mark playing against his old team,” Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. “We weren’t able to get separation with another goal so every shot he faced down the stretch was a critical shot. I’m very happy for him, and I thought he stood tall tonight.”
Tech goaltender Mark Sinclair earned his first win with 19 saves against his former team. He stopped seven shots in the first, three in the second, and nine in the third.
“It was nice to get the win,” Sinclair said. “The guys played great in front of me and made my job pretty easy. It was a full team win and definitely nice to get the first one.
“I had a good skate this morning with Blake [Pietila] and Jamie [Phillips]. I was looking forward to getting the start but treated it like any other game. It was different at first seeing those jerseys across the ice, but I was able to settle in.”
Tyler Rockwell opened scoring only 3:14 into the game with his second of the weekend on the power play. He caught a pass in the high slot from Alec Broetzman and floated the same type of shot he scored on Saturday at the net. Rockwell now has two goals on the season and five for his career. Eric Gotz added the second assist.
Chris Lipe scored his first of the season and second of his career 1:33 later with a long shot through traffic. Brian Halonen worked the puck around the net and Arvid Caderoth flipped a pass back to Lipe inside the blue line. The shot deflected off a UAH player and into the net.
UAH (0-5-1, 0-2 WCHA) scored its first goal of the weekend when Noah Finstrom found the back of the net at 13:39 of the first. The Chargers worked the puck to the front of the net and a centering feed by Finstrom deflected off a Husky and across the goal line.
Rockwell then made a great defensive play to keep it a one-goal game as he negated a 2-on-1 scoring chance late in the first period.
The Huskies had a number of chances to extend the lead. Justin Misiak almost scored on a rebound in the first period but the shot went wide. Tommy Parrottino had a great chance on a deflection of a Tyrell Buckley shot in the second that was saved. UAH goaltender David Fessenden then made a huge pad save on Brian Halonen at the doorstep in the third.
The Chargers pulled Fessenden in the final 90 seconds but Parrottino blocked a shot and Sinclair had to make one save in the final stages.
Tech outshot UAH 30-20. The Huskies were 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Huskies travel to Minnesota State next weekend to continue a 10-game January.
“I thought this weekend was a step back for us coming off the break,” added Shawhan. “Hopefully the intensity and focus will be a little stronger next weekend because Mankato is a great team. They don’t give up much at all.”
The teams split their first meeting in early December in Houghton.
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