Weekend Wrap Up: Week 2, 2016

Huskies start the year 0-4

Following last year's end to the the 40-year MacNaughton Cup drought, the Huskies have started the 2016-2017 campaign 0-4 by dropping their second series of the year to the Minnesota State Mavericks.

The teams warm up before Saturday's game at the Verizon Center in Mankato, MN. (Photo credit: Alex Slepak)

The teams warm up before Saturday's game at the Verizon Center in Mankato, MN. (Photo credit: Alex Slepak)

The question this season seems who will take charge of the goal tending situation. For the second straight week, Devin Kero (So., G) and Matt Wintjes (Jr., G) split time starting in net for the Huskies, and it seems neither clinched the full-time role with their performances. This may be the down swing from last year's goal-tending strategy of utilizing Jamie Phillips often, but not giving time to the younger goalies definitely set the stage for a rebuilding spree this season. Look for the Huskies to continue to split time in net until someone takes control of a few games.

On top of the uncertainty in net, the Huskies again averaged over 20 penalty minutes per night on the weekend and allowed five MSU power-play goals. By the end of Saturday, both penalty boxes were standing room-only. Tech is 9-31 (71.0%) on the penalty kill while only 1-25 (4%) on the power play so far this season.  

Tyler Heinonen stands in the penalty box, as Roy, Smith and Birks fill the bench behind him. (Photo credit: Alex Slepak)

Tyler Heinonen stands in the penalty box, as Roy, Smith and Birks fill the bench behind him. (Photo credit: Alex Slepak)

Michigan Tech in the Rankings

After starting the weekend at #17 in the USCHO.com Division I Men's Preseason Poll, losses the last two weekends have sent the Huskies down to "Others Receiving Votes". Tech currently sits on the outside looking in at #41 the PairWise Ranking (PWR), a consistently-accurate predictor of the NCAA tournament selections. For more information on PairWise Rankings, click here.

WCHA Wrap Up

Alabama-Hunstville at Connecticut

Friday: 0-4, Saturday: 0-6

Coming off two huge wins over 2016 WCHA Broadmoor Trophy-victors Ferris State last weekend, UAH got crushed by Connecticut 0-10 over the weekend.

Good News for Huskies Fans:  It appears UAH did not make the extraordinary stride to the top of the league as it appeared they had last weekend. Tech plays Hunstville next weekend in the Huskies home opener in dire need for a couple of wins.  

Bad News for Huskies Fans: Hunstville has a better record this season than Tech. Look for an improved UAH team this season which could give the struggling Huskies some trouble.

Ferris State home/home Western Michigan

Thursday: 5-3 (Western), Friday: 1-2 (Western)

Ferris finds itself in a similar situation to MTU this season, although the Bulldogs bring back goalie Darren Smith (So, G - FSU) for his second season. The Broadmoor Trophy winners have now dropped four games to unranked teams.

Good News for Huskies Fans: Ferris State gave the Huskies some troubles last year. Hopefully a struggling Bulldog squad will allow the Huskies to take a couple wins when they meet down the stretch in February.

Bad News for Huskies Fans: FSU is hoping to make the same change of course Tech is, and not meeting until February, both teams may be significantly improved by that time.

Bowling Green at Bemidji

Friday: 1-2, Saturday: 1-4

The Beavers did their job this weekend and put down WCHA preseason poll #2 Bowling Green. Of the six BSU goals on the weekend, the Fitzgerald's had four points. Gerry Fitzgerald (Jr., F - BSU) had two goals, and Myles Fitzgerald (Jr., F - BSU) had two assists. Together, the Fitzgerald's will accumulate significant points totals this year.

Good News for Huskies Fans: Chris Nell (Jr., G - BGSU) only saw 55 shots on the weekend, and allowed six goals. The junior had a stellar 2015-2016 season, so here's hoping for a senior slide come early

Bad News for Huskies Fans: On the other side of the ice, Bemidji goalie Michael Bitzer (Jr., G - BSU) saw 44 shots on the weekend and stopped all but two. Bitzer ended the 2015-16 campaign with a 2.16 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. 

Northern Michigan at Wisconsin

Friday: 3-2, Saturday: 5-6

Opening weekend for Northern ended in a split with Wisconsin this weekend. Robbie Payne (Jr, F - NMU) had a remarkable weekend, adding six points to his stat sheet, including one on each of NMU's goals on Saturday.  

Good News for Huskies Fans: Northern Michigan supplied the first WCHA win over a non-conference opponent this season.

Bad News for Huskies Fans: In order to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney, the WCHA will need to do a lot better in non-conference games this season than in the 2015-16 season. Tech has already dropped two games to Minnesota Duluth, from the NCHC. 

 Minnesota at Alaska - Anchorage

Friday: 6-0

A thorough routing of UAA by the Gophers. Oliver Mantha (Jr. G - UAA) took 39 shots in net, stopping 33 

Good News for Huskies Fans: Very little good to take away, except that UAA is also starting off slowly.

Bad News for Huskies Fans: Another WCHA loss to a non-conference opponent.   

Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage

Saturday: 4-1

A non-conference match up between the two Alaska schools. Jarret Brown (Jr., D - UAA) scored the only goal for Anchorage over the weekend in relative garbage time late in the third period. 

Good News for Huskies Fans: Looks like the Nanooks may be able to contribute to the WCHA's non-conference record, just not this weekend. 

Bad News for Huskies Fans: The Alaskan schools will play hosts to Nebraska-Omaha and Canisius next weekend. The WCHA will need to pull out non-conference wins, but UAA may not be able to provide them.   

Minnesota at Alaska

Sunday: 6-3

A closer game than many of the others in Alaska this weekend, this one at least went back and forth a bit. Zach Frye (Jr. D - UA) had two points on the night, but the Nanooks were unable to make it through the weekend undefeated.

Good News for Huskies Fans: Teams in the B1G aren't going to be unstoppable this season, as evidenced by UA's three goals Sunday and Northern's split with Wisconsin. Tech has several games with B1G teams this year.

Bad News for Huskies Fans: Another WCHA loss to a non-conference opponent.