2008-09: Blake Pietila played for Compuware's midget minor team in the Midwest Elite League and also skated for Compuware's Tier 1 national championship U-16 squad. In 31 midget minor games, he scored 8 goals with 11 assists and received 8 PMs. Pietila committed to playing college hockey at Northern Michigan in 2011-12. His older brother Chad was a freshman for the Wildcats.
2009-10: Pietila was selected for the US National Team Development program and spent the bulk of the season with the U-17 squad: appearing in one U-18 game. In 41 games, he scored 10 goals with 6 assists and had 35 PMs. In 28 USHL games, he scored 5 goals with 3 assists and was -15 with 27 PMs. Pietila participated in the World Hockey Challenge U-17 tournament, scoring 1 goal in six games for Team USA.
2010-11: Pietila was one of four players to appear in all 60 games for the NTDP U-18 squad. He scored 14 goals with 9 assists and had 53 PMs. In 24 USHL contests, he scored 4 goals with 5 assists and was -4 with 20 PMs. Pietila was part of the gold-medal winning Team USA squad at the World Junior U-18 championship tournament and scored 1 goal in six games. Following the season, Pietila de-committed from Northern Michigan and will join his brother Chad, a transfer, and cousin Aaron Pietila, at Michigan Tech with first-year coach Mel Pearson's Huskies program. Blake Pietila was ranked 105th amongst North American skaters by Central Scouting in their final rankings and selected by the Devils in the 5th round (129th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Pietila skated in 39 games as a freshman and played a big part in the resurgence of the hockey program at Michigan Tech under first-year coach Mel Pearson. Pietila scored 10 goals with 14 assists and was minus-three with 46 penalty minutes. After winning a total of 15 games in the previous three seasons, the Huskies finished eighth in the WCHA. The Huskies knocked off Colorado College in the conference tournament before falling to Denver in overtime in a Final Five quarterfinal. Michigan Tech's 16 wins were the most for the program since 2006-07.
Pietila is a smart, hard-working grinder who competes hard every shift and relishes getting involved physically. His speed and quickness, which was once a big weakness, has improved exceptionally to the point where it can now be considered a strength. Short, stocky, and built like a fire hydrant, Pietila excels as a fore-checker and is able to create turnovers due to his high hockey IQ and anticipation. Not surprisingly, he is also a top-notch penalty killer. He isn’t an overly skilled player and his offensive ceiling isn’t really that high, but he put up some impressive numbers as a freshman for Michigan Tech.
Pietila’s offensive output was a pleasant surprise for the Devils in 2011-12, but his future still lies as an energetic, physical bottom-six forward. If he continues to develop offensively, consider it a bonus because even if he’s not scoring, he still has desirable checking line skills.