Michigan Tech enters into their final series of the regular season against the Northern Michigan Wildcats (17-14-2). The Huskies are coming off of a strong showing against the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves (3-26-3), taking both games. The Wildcats took both games against the Lake Superior State Lakers (20-10-2) in an impressive homestand.
Since their last meeting with the Huskies, the Wildcats have seen a very successful second half to their season going 10-4-2. They have relied heavily on senior netminder Atte Tolveanen (17-14-2, 2.32 GAA, .915 SV%) who has played all but 14 minutes in net this season. The Wildcats have seen improvement across the board with an average of 2.6 goals per game (up from 1.8), a 9.7 shooting percentage (up from 7.8), a PP% of 20.7 (17th), and a PK% of 83.8 (18th). Their offensive success stems from their upperclassmen with senior Troy Loggins and junior Philip Beaulieu leading the pack. Loggins, in particular, is having a stellar senior campaign logging 17 goals and 15 assists with Beaulieu right behind in points with six goals and 24 assists. Look to these two players this coming weekend to see if the Wildcats can take any of the desperately need six points up for grabs.
The Huskies continued their quality play with the results finally paying off with a sweep of the Seawolves. Freshmen Brian Halonen and sophomore Seamus Donohue had a terrific series, with Halonen picking up two goals and Donohue registering three assists. Junior Netminder Matt Jurusik also had a good series despite his GAA in game one which saw him give up two goals on 12 shots. Game two saw better results allowing one goal on 21 shots. This upcoming series will have the annual senior night which will see seniors Jake Lucchini, Dylan Steman, Jake Jackson, Keegan Ford and Devin Kero be honored for their service to the Michigan Tech Hockey program. Look for the possibility of all five to be starting in Tech’s last regular season home game.
Keys to the Game
- Upperclassmen. The Wildcats are being carried heavily by their upperclassmen and Tech will need to see if their defensive core is up to the challenge of containing them. This also can go the way of Tech’s upperclassmen, they are going to have to start performing if the Huskies look to have a deep run in the playoffs.
- Calm and Collective. As per normal, this is going to be a very heated series as and with even more on the line for the Huskies, look for Northern to try their hardest to stop Tech from getting home ice in the playoffs.
- Have Fun. Like all things in life, we (the fans, coaches, players, media, etc.) may take things a little far in terms of importance. If there is one thing we can all agree on is that this should be a fun series no matter the outcome. If players aren’t enjoying what they do and if the fans don’t enjoy process and result of the game, take this series as a chance to take a step back and reflect on this 2018-2019 season getting pumped for some go old fashion rivalry hockey.
The most probable result is that Tech and Northern split each winning at home. However, wheres the fun in that? Instead, I’m going to predict the trifecta that the Old Dog discussed in his article which results in the Huskies obtain home ice as the number 4 seed. MTU wins 3-0, 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 Travis Pierce.