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BGSU vs Michigan Tech: a weekend preview

BGSU+vs+Michigan+Tech%3A+a+weekend+preview
Keira Ellenberger

Bowling Green has now entered the meat of their regular season. The Falcons load the bus for a series in Houghton against Michigan Tech this weekend, then stay home for a series against Ferris State, then take to the roads again on the 14-15 of December for Bemidji State.

Phew, that’s a stretch to put it mildly.

But while the equipment manager might have to plan for the weeks ahead, the team sets its focus solely on the Michigan Tech Huskies.  

Michigan Tech is one of the better teams in the CCHA. Despite being ranked third, the Huskies have one of only two non-losing records in total (6-6-3) and in the conference (4-2).

Surprisingly, they were ranked sixth going into last week, splitting with both Ferris State and Bemidji State. In an impressive showing against the defending CCHA tournament champion, they swept Minnesota State, finally breaking an even record starting a three-game win streak and rising to third place.  

“Regardless of what their record is they are still a very good team,” said Bowling Green head coach Ty Eigner. “They are a team I believe will be there (top three in CCHA) in the end.” 

The reason Joe Shawhan’s Huskies have been so successful recently? They are incredibly unselfish. 

Six players on the Michigan Tech roster have five assists or more, and four players have 10 points or more. Only two players have no points recorded, both have played less than 10 games.

As a team, they have 14 power-play goals and two hat tricks, and even their goaltender, Blake Pietila, has a point (one assist). 

In their sweep against Minnesota State, the Huskies scored six goals and 11 assists. Four players scored goals and a total of 10 players scored points, six players with more than one.

Two Huskies were recognized as CCHA Players of the Week: Ryland Mosley (two goals) as a forward, and Matthew Campbell (two assists) as a defenseman.  

Even with a recently impressive offense, Eigner is more worried about Michigan Tech’s goalie. 

“They have a preseason player of the year candidate in (Blake) Pietila and he was a really good goalie for them last year and has been in his whole career there.” 

Pietila is the primary goalie for the Huskies, starting 12/14 games and all six conference games this year. He is 5-4-3 in the crease with 312 saves, 34 goals allowed, and a .902 save percentage, one of the highest in the CCHA.

His accolades include eleven-time Goalie of the Week winner (4 in 21-22’, 7 in 22-23’), and all-CCHA first team in 2023.

Pietila was a four-time Goalie of the Week and the All-CCHA second-team goalie as a sophomore, becoming an All-CCHA first-team goalie with seven Goalie of the Week awards as a junior. 

The team has one of the better atmospheres in the CCHA, having a great history of hockey and many hockey fans in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The Falcons are one of the more successful teams in Michigan Tech territory with a 9-10-4 record.

In MacInnes Arena, opponents are 15-24-4, one of the lowest opponent records of any arena in the association. 

“Houghton is a tough place to play, they’ve got really good fan support there, and it’s a tough building to play in so we are going to have our work cut out for us for sure.” 

A pack of Huskies 

The Falcons must plan for not just one, not two, not three, but four Pietilas in the coming series.

Brothers Blake, Chase, and Logan Pietila, along with their cousin Jed Pietila, are key players on the roster. All four are from Howell, Michigan, and have ex-Husky hockey relatives in John Paul, Phil, Aaron, Chad, and Blake Pietila, who he himself played four seasons for the New Jersey Devils. 

Logan Pietila is the twin brother of Blake. Logan is a 23-year-old forward in his fifth year at Michigan Tech. He has skated in all but seven games available to him, a total of 155 games with 36 goals, 43 assists, a +8 rating, and eight game-winning goals. He currently has four goals and six assists. 

Chase Pietila is the youngest of the four Pietilas at only 19 years old. He is a freshman and rookie defenseman, just joining the team this year. He has no goals but eight assists on the season including a three-assist game against Augustana on the fourth of November. 

Jed Pietila is the cousin of the three brothers but is the oldest at 24 years of age. The senior is in his fourth year with the team, not playing in his freshman or sophomore seasons. In his junior season, he skated 35/39 games scoring one goal and 15 assists for a +11 rating overall. He had three assists in a series-clinching playoff win against St. Thomas. Jed plays with Chase on a defensive line, finding six assists this season including two in the sweep against Minnesota State. This year, the Huskies have not lost a game in which Jed scores a point. 

Puck drop between the Falcons and Huskies in Houghton on Friday, Dec. 1, is at 7:07 p.m.

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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