With the Old Dog stuck half way around the world, I thought I would take another stab at a column this week. As most of you know, Mitch’s Misfits is a group that has holds a special place for me as the godfather of the group. As we approach the 16th anniversary of its official birth (Winter Carnival 2020) they’ve revived something that I started back in 2004. The Misfits have resumed collecting goal scored pucks at home games. From 2004 through 2015, this was the practice, but it fell out of favor because the backlog was pretty big and there just wasn’t that much interest from the fans, partially because of overload and partially because of lack of knowledge that this practice even existed.
I have a box full of pucks I bought back during my time including goals scored by some of my favorites; Colin Murphy, John Scott, Chris Conner to name a few. Myself and Dustin Lindstrom, my co-host on the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast, each have a complete set of hat-trick pucks from the late 2000s. I believe his was Peter Rouleau against UMD in 2008 and I have all 3 pucks from Brett Olson’s hat trick against NMU in 2009. They’re both pretty neat pieces of Michigan Tech history. I know I need to do a better job of displaying them, but it’s been hard to find the time and money to invest in a proper display.
Those pucks are just a few of the hundreds of pucks collected by the Misfits and with this revival, the Misfits have decided to basically have a close out sale on existing inventory. I thought I’d take some time and go through a few of the pucks in that inventory that remind me of fun moments over the last 15 plus years of following the Huskies.
Let’s go back to the second oldest puck on the list, all the way back to game against Northern Michigan on November 4, 2004. A little over a year after the famous October 18, 2003 game against the Wildcats that planted the seeds for Mitch’s Misfits and Tech Hockey Guide. This game didn’t result in a win, but it was plenty crazy. Michigan Tech was down 5-1 just three minutes into the second period but BJ Radovich (his name came up on JSH earlier this season because he’s from the same hometown as Eric Gotz) scored the first of five straight goals for the Huskies to give the home team an 6-5 lead with 8 minutes left.
The other goals that night were from Tyler Shelast, Chris Conner and of all people, Jake Obermeyer. After leaving the Huskies, Obermeyer was infamously ejected from a Minnesota Twins game for jumping on the field and trying to run the bases. Ok, enough of that tangent (I wish I could find the video though, EDIT, see below), but that wasn’t quite enough as Matt Maunu for NMU scored with under 4 minutes to force the tie. Sadly, that was one of the highs for the first half of the 2004-05 season as the Huskies went 1-16-1 through the GLI with their lone win against Alaska-Anchorage.
Thankfully for everyone, the second half was much better. The Huskies went 7-9-3 after the new year and there are is a goal from a W during that run on the list as well. Jimmy Kerr tied the game a 1-1 in a 4-2 win over Minnesota State to clinch the John MacInnes Cup at Winter Carnival in 2005. I remember that Carnival vividly as Colin Murphy was named MVP and my mug was on one of the tickets that weekend. I always planned on getting my ticket and one of Colin’s goals framed up but that ticket has been lost and it never happen.
Many folks would like to just forget all of the Jamie Russell era but the Huskies came with in a win or two from making the NCAA tournament 2007 finishing with an 18-17-6 record. There are 10 goals available from that season including a bunch from one of the Huskies’ best roll players in the last 20 years. Tyler Skworchinski, along with that year’s captain Mike Batovanja, was the engine that kept that team playing hard and focused on winning. Skworchinski scored two goals as part of a sweep of Bemidji State in January 2007 including the game winning goal on Saturday night. Skworch gave the Huskies finished the comeback win with an unassisted goal with 8 minutes left in regulation after the Beavers had built a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.
There aren’t many pucks (6) from the next two seasons but one of the remaining does stick out. Peter Rouleau was a an amazing goal scorer during some dark days for the Huskies. He scored a dozen in his final season with the Huskies including the second goal in 5-2 win over Colorado College. This part of a 3-point weekend over a very good Tigers team which was led by Chad Rau (28-14-42). Rouleau, Michael-Lee Teslak and current strength and conditioning coah, Tyler Shelast were pretty much the only bright spots for the 2007-08 season.
The last year that I’m going to take a look at in part one of this review is the 2009-10 season. The Misfits have 24 goals from that season, in which the Huskies won a meager six times all year, but five of those results (4 wins and a tie) came at home which makes those pucks more interesting. While it came in a loss, one goal that sticks out came from the Huskies’ all-name team, Eli Vlaisavljevich scored against North Dakota.
Eli was a great prospect when he joined the Huskies but for some reason he never really blossomed at the college level, only managing 3 goals and 10 points in over 100 games for MTU. He was an amazing student and I always loved chatting with his dad whom I still run into from time to time. Another former player with a random tidbit. He’s written two books that are both available on Amazon. To Write a Wrong and You Can Do It Yourself!: The self-help book that you write yourself.
Brett Olson was a huge leader during some lean years. This was his sophomore campaign and he led the team in scoring (18-12-30). On January 29, 2010 he and the Huskies beat up on Minnesota State 4-1 with the Mavericks only goal coming on a shorthanded goal after the Huskies had put up four including Olson’s game winner. All four pucks from that game are available with the other three being scored by Drew Dobson, Malcolm Gwilliam (2).
Olson still plays professional hockey in Germany for ERC Ingolstadt where he’s currently an Alternate Captain to the 6th place Panthers. For the past 5 years he’s been running the Twin Ports Pro Development Camp each summer in the Duluth-Superior area. Maybe this summer we’ll catch up with him on an episode of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast.
Well, I think that about covers the first half of nearly a decade of authentic goal scored pucks collected by Mitch’s Misfits. Check back later this month when I take a look at pucks from 2010 through 2015. If you’d like to buy any of the pucks mentioned here or take a look at the full list you can check out the Misfit’s google doc and email the Misfits at firstname.lastname@example.org