Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer! We take great pride in our homegrown talent. Whether they grew up in the Mitten or we welcomed them here for college or juniors, they are our own. They represent the best place in the world for hockey. Every morning, we pick one Michi-gamer from the previous night’s slate of games across all professional levels of hockey – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
It took Blake Pietila just three games to find the back of the net in his first professional season, as part of the AHL’s Albany Devils, New Jersey’s farm team. The 22-year-old Brighton native and Michigan Tech alumnus made it count, too. With Albany knotted at two aside with the Toronto Marlies heading into the third period of their game Sunday, Pietila potted the game-winning goal at 3:24 to give the Devils the 3-2 edge, taking a 2-on-1 feed and burying the one-timer. That lead stood up as the final score. Pietila is coming off a four-year career with the Huskies that saw him accumulate 106 points in 153 games.
Despite the Red Wings’ pair of losses since over the weekend, there have been two Detroit players that have recorded at least one point in each of the team’s five games so far to open the 2015-16 campaign: Henrik Zetterberg and the captain’s rookie linemate Dylan Larkin. On Friday, just 46 seconds after Carolina extended its lead to 5-2, Larkin took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that Teemu Pulkkinen tipped home to make it a 5-3 game, which would end up being the final score. That marked Larkin’s fourth helper of the young season. In Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Montreal, Larkin scored the Red Wings’ only goal, albeit an odd one. From the Montreal corner, Zetterberg tried to find Justin Abdelkader in the slot, but the puck was tipped away to Larkin instead. Larkin then cut down the right side, protecting the puck and took a low backhand shot that banked off the inside of Carey Price’s pad and in for his second of the season.
Watch Larkin’s goal against Montreal: