SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. ?? Michigan Tech erased a two-goal deficit to tie the game at 3-3 before Lake Superior State scored the go-ahead goal with 8:17 to play and held on for a 4-3 WCHA victory. Alex Petan hit the cross bar in the final minute for the Huskies, who fell to 6-11-6 overall and 4-5-4 in league play. Despite a strong start and the game's first goal, Tech found itself trailing 3-1 after 20 minutes. The host Lakers scored three unanswered in an eight-minute span as Zach Sternberg and Kevin Czuczman both beat Pheonix Copley with wrist shots and Mitchell Nardi redirected a shot from the point. Czuczman's was shorthanded during Tech's only power play of the game. Jamie Phillips replaced Copley in net, and gave the Huskies a spark. He stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced including 12 in the second as the Black and Gold pulled within one. Reid Sturos centered a pass from the side wall to the high slot, where Ryan Furne triggered a wrister for his fifth goal of the season.C.J. Eick knotted the score with 7:34 gone in the third period as he buried a rebound for his fourth goal of the year. Blake Pietila and Alex Petan drew assists on the play.Tech continued to carry play throughout the third period and finished with a 21-11 advantage in shots on goal in the frame.It was a shot from the left point at the 11:43 mark that decided the game. Austin McKay got a piece of Zach Loesch's shot to redirect it past Phillips for his first career goal.The Huskies applied significant pressure down the stretch with a grade A chance for Brent Baltus with six minutes to go. Then with Phillips pulled for the extra attacker, Petan rang the iron with a shot from the slot."We're playing just well enough to lose right now," said head coach Mel Pearson, whose club lost its second straight one-goal game. "I liked our discipline, our compete level and our effort. It was a short stretch in the first period where we made some critical mistakes, and it cost us."Much like Tech's first game against the Lakers, Blake Hietala put the Huskies on top early. The junior batted a rebound out of mid-air into an open net behind LSSU netminder Kevin Kapalka.Tonight's game also matched that Nov. 15 tilt by being the only other game Tech has lost this season when scoring first."We got off to a real good start and generated scoring chances," said Pearson. "Give them credit. They pushed back and took the lead."I'm happy that we kept battling all the way through the game. Three goals should be enough for this team to win. You can't give up four and expect to have success on the road."Tech finished with a 42-35 advantage in shots on goal. Each team was called for only one penalty??both coming in the first.The teams will wrap up their two-game weekend series and four-game season series with a 7:07 p.m. faceoff tomorrow night (Jan. 4).Notes: Pietila was 16-5 on faceoffs and finished with two assists for his first multi-point game since Nov. 9 vs. Michigan State ?| Phillips, despite allowing just the one goal on 23 shots in his first action since Dec. 6, absorbed the loss in goal. Copley finished with nine saves on 12 shots.
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