Wrap Up: Week 4, 2016

Huskies squeak out tie at Yost Arena.

The semi-regular match-up between coach Red Berenson and his former protegé Mel Pearson ended in the Huskies eking out a tie and a loss this past weekend at Yost arena. Friday saw Tech give up a short-handed goal late in the third period for the loss, while a controversial call near the end of Saturday's tilt saw Tech's lead slip away for a tie. That game went on through overtime to a shootout, which the Huskies lost (though we remind you that the shootout has no bearing on conference or NCAA standings). Those keeping up with the ongoing experimentation in the net will be interested to know that Kero started the first night, stopping 23 of 27 (.852 SV%) and Wintjes started on Saturday to the tune of 15 of 18 saves (.833 SV%).

Assistant Coach Gary Shuchuck talks to Tyler Heinonen during last season's game against University of Connecticut during the Desert Hockey Classic (Photo credit: Ryan Johnson)

Assistant Coach Gary Shuchuck talks to Tyler Heinonen during last season's game against University of Connecticut during the Desert Hockey Classic (Photo credit: Ryan Johnson)

The disparaging 1-5-2 record for the Huskies should still be taken with a grain of salt. The opponents MTU has faced early in this season are of a significantly higher caliber than many other WCHA teams. Tech losses come against teams such as #2 Minnesota State, #12 Duluth and #25 Michigan. For perspective, Lake Superior State, currently 4-0, has swept #47 Michigan State and #48 Alabama Huntsville. The differences in the schedule are still very apparent, but one can get lost in the record. This will average out as the season goes on.

We can’t give up four goals on the road and expect to win.
— -Mel Pearson, post-game comments (Oct. 21, 2016)

A point of concern for the Huskies early in the season, Tech only averaged 12 penalty minutes per game this weekend (10 Friday, 14 Saturday), which is a significant decrease from the first few games of the season where Tech was averaging 22+. It has been noted several places that the NCAA is calling tighter games this weekend, and many teams around the league have seen increases in PIM thus far this season. It appears the Huskies are starting to settling in to the new refereeing style. Tech is now 6/42 (14.3%) on the PP and 41/53 (77.4%) on the PK this season.

We also want to give a shout out to Mitch's Misfits for being named the WCHA Fans of the Week. Look for the official release from the league tomorrow.

Tech in the Rankings

Tech currently sits at #5 in the WCHA Standings with five points through four games. The Huskies are back on the USCHO.com Division 1 Men's Poll list of "Others receiving votes" with one point, while the Black and Gold has four points in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine's Poll. MTU is #40 in the PWR Rankings, the mathematical modelling system designed to mimic the NCAA Tournament selection. Freshman Alex Smith ( F - MTU) was an honorable mention for WCHA Rookie of the Week

Around the WCHA

#6 Northern Michigan at #8 Ferris State

Friday: 6-4, Saturday: 2-2 (FSU won in SO)

These two teams which were successful in 2015-2016 are finding themselves into the bottom of the WCHA early in the 2016-2017 season. NMU edged out a high-scoring victory on Friday, but couldn't pull out the sweep and dropped the extra point to Ferris on Saturday. Daniel Craighead (Fr., F - NMU) and Corey Mackin (So., F - FSU) each netted a pair of goals in Saturday's contest. Craig Pefrey (Fr., F - FSU) scored the sole shootout goal for FSU on Saturday. 

Good News for Huskies Fans: Ferris has been on a downward skid this year, so we shouldn't put much stock into the NMU offense in these games. Tech faces NMU in a home-and-home next weekend.

Bad News for Huskies Fans: The home-and-home series with NMU is always more difficult than a normal match-up should be. Expect another difficult weekend for the Huskies.

#4 Lake Superior State at #3 Alabama Huntsville

Friday: 6-3, Saturday: 5-2

The second straight week of LSSU offensive dominance. Diego Cuglietta (So., F - LSSU) and Collin Saccoman (Fr., D - LSSU) each received offensive and defensive WCHA players of the week, respectively, for their efforts. LSSU netminder Gordon Defiel (Jr.) stopped 48 of 53 shots (90.5%), which was good enough for two victories. Defiel has been Head Coach Damon Witten's pick for all four games this season.

Good News for Huskies Fans: Glad to see LSSU off to a hot start, although we certainly would have preferred Huntsville to give them as much difficulty as the Chargers gave Tech.

Bad News for Huskies Fans: Our UP neighbors from the Soo are supposed to be a couple of easy wins; time will tell if that will be the case.