» Erik Portillo turned aside all 27 shots that he faced to earn a shutout.
» Johnny Beecher and Luke Morgan paced the Wolverines with four shots on goal.
» The scoreless tie is the first for Michigan since Feb. 19, 1954 – 67 years, 10 months ago.
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Yost Ice Arena)
Score: #3 Michigan 0, #18 Michigan Tech 0 (OT)
Records: U-M (14-6-1), MTU (10-7-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 8 — vs. Massachusetts (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 5:00 p.m. ET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — An entertaining holiday matchup failed to deliver a winner as the third-ranked University of Michigan ice hockey team tied the 18th-ranked Michigan Tech Huskies in a scoreless game on Wednesday night (Dec. 29) at the Red Berenson Rink inside Yost Ice Arena.
Wednesday’s contest goes down as the program’s first scoreless tie in over 67 years, with the last coming in February 1954 on the road against Michigan State.
Erik Portillo was outstanding in net for the Wolverines, making 27 saves while earning his second career shutout in the draw.
Each side created a handful of scoring chances over the game’s opening ten minutes, but neither could take advantage to open the scoring as the sides went through a long feeling-out process.
A Husky was sent off for slashing with 1:57 left in the first period. On the ensuing power play, MTU’s netminder, Blake Pietila, made a fantastic stop on a Nick Blankenburg shot with 1:30 left to keep the Wolverines off the scoreboard.
After one scoreless period of play, Michigan had built a 10-5 lead in shots on goal.
The Wolverines went 0-1 with the extra attacker in the opening frame, but the next two chances with the man advantage belonged to Michigan Tech. On each, Portillo came up clutch with a flurry of saves as the team’s best penalty killer to keep the game tied at zero.
With five minutes left in the middle frame, the Huskies made a beautiful seam pass through the neutral zone to spring Trenton Bliss on an abbreviated breakaway from the U-M blue line. Once again, Portillo delivered an important stop for the Maize and Blue to turn the chance aside.
Johnny Beecher, who nearly scored several times throughout the game, had two breakaway chances stymied over the course of the second period. On his first attempt, he looked to send the puck through the goalie’s five-hole but couldn’t find space to convert. Looking to shoot the whole way on his second go-around with time winding down, Beecher had a snap shot blocked away by Pietila.
With twenty minutes remaining in the team’s final game before the calendars turn to 2022, U-M’s advantage in shots on goal sat at 19-15. Neither team had been able to break the scoreless tie.
After U-M threatened with sustained pressure on a third period power-play but failed to convert, the teams each sat at 0-2 with the extra attacker.
As time wound down in regulation, Dylan Duke collected the puck and entered the Michigan Tech zone while headmanning a two-on-one rush. The freshman chose to take the shot and had the netminder beat, but rang the puck off the crossbar with three minutes left to play.
At the final buzzer for the end of regulation, Michigan held a narrow 25-24 lead in shots on goal. Each side had strung together several chances that could have ended the contest, but the goalies stood tall. The teams returned to their benches to prepare for five minutes of three-on-three overtime.
A bit over a minute into the extra session, Michael Pastujov nearly teamed up with Beecher to end the game in transition, but a backhand attempt trickled wide.
With 2:37 left in the overtime session, a penalty shot was called after a U-M skater backchecked to break up a Husky’s abbreviated breakaway. Once again, Erik Portillo came up with a save for the Wolverines to move to a perfect 2-for-2 this season against penalty shots.
Frenetic play highlighted the final 157 seconds of play, but neither side could crack the score sheet as Portillo and Pietila finished off an outstanding collective display of goaltending. Shots on goal ended in Michigan’s favor, 30-27, but the Huskies did lead in faceoff wins, 34-31.
Michigan’s run of non-conference opponents will continue next weekend (Jan. 8-9) when the Wolverines return to the ice at Yost Ice Arena on Saturday and Sunday against the defending national champions, the University of Massachusetts. Puck drops for the weekend series against the Minutemen of Hockey East are set for 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.