After what looked to be one the best weekends of play by the Huskies, the results didn’t match the effort. They were only able to take one out of six points against a very talented and tough Minnesota State team (24-6-2). Tech looks to take the same quality of play—though hopefully to a better result—into Sault Ste. Marie to face the LSSU Lakers (18-8-2). The Lakers find themselves coming back from an off week.
The Lakers have been a big surprise coming off of a 10-22-4 season which had them 9th overall in the WCHA, not making a playoff appearance. They seem to have turned around their struggles to become a powerhouse in not only the WCHA but also the NCAA. The Lakers have been anchored by goaltenders senior Nick Kossoff (13-4-2, 2.53 GAA, .910 SV%) and sophomore Mareks Mitens (5-4-0, 2.13 GAA, .923 SV%). Kossoff has seen a career season improving from a 7-12-2 record from just last year. This has been largely due to the Lakers offense averaging 3.5 goals per game with a 12.7 shooting percentage. The Lakers also own a 19.2 PP% (25th) and 84.6 PK % (13th).
The Huskies are coming off of a weekend of disappointing results. They were able to play well and hold their own against the Mavericks with netminder Matt Jurusik only allowing 4 goals on the weekend. Tech’s performance gave a good sign that they might be to start turning a corner in their season to make one final push for the chance at home ice in the playoffs. This weekend will be key to make this happen as the Lakers currently hold 4th place in the standings. In addition to this match up, Tech still has one more left against the Northern Michigan Wildcats (15-13-1), who are currently tied for 2nd with Bowling Green (18-8-3). Tech will have the chance to steal points from both teams in four of six games remaining in the season.
Keys to the Game
- Consistency. Tech played very well last weekend against the 5th ranked team in the country. Hopefully, this weekend will see the same quality of play against the 19th team in the country but with a much better outcome.
- Clean play. The running theme the past couple of games have consisted of taking late penalties that cost them a lead or even the game. Tech will have to make sure they stay out of the box with under 10 minutes or so left in the third period to lock down the game.
- Shut down the upperclassmen. The biggest factor in the Lakers’ success (aside from goaltending) has been the performance of seniors Diego Cuglietta and Anthony Nellis. They’ve combined for 60 points in the 28 games played this year. The Huskies defense will have to be able to contain them if Tech wants to have any chance at taking all six available points.
I think the Huskies will either surprise us all and sweep or get swept while keeping the games close. I tend to lean toward the former and hope they do too. Tech sweeps taking 4th place in the WCHA standings, MTU wins 4-2, MTU wins 2-1.
How to Watch
Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), and via flohockey.tv (paywall) for video.
Cover photo credit Ryan Johnson.