Joe Shawhan was announced as Michigan Tech’s newest head coach just over 100 days ago. He’s already received the commitment of Michigan’s 2017 Mr. Hockey, a 50-point scorer for a pretty good Minnesota High School and a veteran goaltender that could start for the Huskies against Wisconsin in less than two weeks. Shawhan and his staff have hit the ground running, improving the team for this season and likely the future.
The first commitment came from Jacob Crespi. Crespi was previously committed to LSSU and at one point it was rumored that the forward had flipped to Northern Michigan and new coach Grant Potulny, but that was a mistake and he actually chose the Huskies in the middle of July. Crespi was recognized as Michigan’s Mr. Hockey after a 59-point season for Brighton, which might sound familiar as Reid Sturos, Joel L’Esperance and Todd Kiilunen (to name a few) all call Brighton home. While Mr. Hockey doesn’t mean quite as much in Michigan as it does in Minnesota, a few former winners with college connections include Gerald Mayhew (FSU), Andrew Miller (Yale) and Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State). Crespi had interest from NMU, Michigan and Western Michigan, so in some ways this could be considered a recruiting victory over former coach Mel Pearson. Mitch’s Misfits and the arena atmosphere played a role in Crespi’s choice, along with Shawhan, Stewart and the training staff (including Tyler Shelast). Crespi went as far as to say that Michigan Tech give him the best chance to develop as a pro. That will likely have to wait a year or two while he plays junior hockey.
Near the end of August, Michigan Tech received their second commitment under Shawhan. This time it was a from Levi Stauber, a 17-year old forward who plays for Duluth Marshall. Last year as a Junior, he scored 51 points including 27 goals and he’s currently playing in the Upper Midwest Elite League which has been discussed here before. Last year, Brian Halonen was one of the leading scorers and this year, Stauber is off to a great start for Team North, where he has three goals in three games including two game-winners. While many first asked whether Stauber was related to former Gopher goaltender Robb Stauber (Levi’s uncle), the real question is his connection to MTU and it’s all about Robb’s brother. Levi’s dad is Pete Stauber, the former LSSU forward that was teammates with Joe Shawhan for one season. That relation probably helped push Stauber to choose Tech over reported offers from Northern Michigan and Bemidji State. Much like Crespi, he’s probably two years away from joining the Huskies, but he’ll spend this season playing Minnesota High School hockey.
The last—and most important—event of those first 100 days was the commitment of transfer goaltender Patrick “Packy” Munson from the defending national champion Denver Pioneers. While Michigan Tech will be his third college team in as many years, Munson brings experience and a pretty decent track record at the NCAA level. In his one season with Vermont, the Minnesota native played in 21 games posting a 0.920 save percentage, a 2.37 GAA, and 3 shutouts. He transferred to Denver where he probably expected to be the starter after the 2016-17 season but with Tanner Jaillet not leaving early and the addition of Dayton Rasmussen, it likely wasn’t the situation he wanted. So he decided to leave Denver and the Pioneers gave him his release allowing him to play right away. The NCAA also decided to allow him to move on from Denver without having to sit out again.
Munson was very popular and could have chosen from many other schools but he picked Michigan Tech and more specifically, Joe Shawhan. We spoke with Munson and here is what he had to say:
I was kind of looking at every option available until the day I first talked to coach Shawhan. He absolutely blew me away and I knew right then that I wanted to come to Michigan Tech.
That’s pretty high praise for the new coach and those of us at THG that have interacted with him have to agree, between our own experiences, the words of the new recruits and his letter to Mitch’s Misfits, Joe Shawhan has done just about everything right off the ice. We’re less than two weeks away from seeing if that can translate on the ice. The 2017-18 season is nearly here and we should all be excited to see what this new era has in store for the Huskies.