The Michigan Tech Huskies (5-3-0) to Potsdam, New York to face the Clarkson Golden Knights (4-4-0) for the last leg of their eight-game road trip. After sweeping the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (0-10-0) and the Ferris State Bulldogs (4-6-0), the Huskies are on a four game winning streak. On the other side of the ice, the Golden Knights dropped a one-game contest against the Canisius College Golden Griffins (4-5-0) last weekend.
The Golden Knights are .500 this season with starting goaltender junior Jake Kielly at the helm. Kielly owns a 2.69 GAA and .907 save percentage with a 4-4-0 record this season, contrasting against the 1.82 GAA and .929 save percentage in 39 games (22-11-6) he posted last season. A major contributer to break from last year is likely due Golden Knights losing three senior blueliners while seeing the addition of two freshmen following last season. As a result, the Golden Knights are also lacking on special teams with a 69.4 PK% that ranks 57th in the nation. Their opponents have been in the middle of the pack in terms of power play with Wisconsin (5-5-0) being the most effective at 20.9% (23rd) showing the true struggles they have been facing. Clarkson owns a 21.4 PP% (20th).
The Huskies have climbed above .500 after taking both games against Ferris in close games both nights. Senior forward Jake Lucchini led the Huskies in scoring, picking up five points over both games. Defensively, the Huskies blueline looked stronger this weekend containing the Bulldogs, but still found trouble on the penalty kill, allowing three power play goals in nine attempts. In addition, injuries are starting to slowly make their rounds with sophomore Mitch Meek exiting Friday’s game. He joins senior forward Jake Jackson and freshman defenseman Eric Gotz who also are out with injury. Their return timeline is currently unknown. As far as goaltending, Coach Shawhan commented during Saturday’s post game interview and Monday’s Joe Shawhan Hour that senior Devin Kero will get at least one start this coming weekend after Matt Jurusik started both games last weekend. Thus continuing the Huskies’ quest of finding a consistent starting netminder.
Keys to the Game
- Power play. This might not come as a surprise to most who have kept up with the Huskies this season, but special teams are going to be a huge factor in this game. If the Huskies can draw penalties from the Golden Knights then their 11th in the nation power play can do a lot of damage.
- Play Cleanly. Clarkson’s PK% might be 57th, but the Huskies hold the 58th spot right below them. Tech is going to have to either play a squeaky clean weekend of hockey or show a massive improvement if they do find themselves having to play a man down.
- Consistent Goaltending. Coach Shawhan has been playing the game of Goalie roulette this season trying to find a defacto starter. Hopefully, this series will find who is up to the task. My best guess is that Kero and Beydoun travel. Beydoun looked really good in his relief appearance and first win of this season in game two against Ferris. This should also give Jurusik a chance to rest and practice as Kero did last weekend.
This series is a tough one to gauge the outcome. The deciding factor in my analysis comes to powerplay percentage. Both teams are going to take penalties and both teams are going to give up goals on the potential kill (most likely). This is where the Huskies should shine sweeping the series. MTU wins 4-2, MTU wins 3-1.
How to Watch
Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (Free), and through the ESPN+ and Stretch Internet service for video (Paywall/7 Day Free Trial).