After a disappointing performance that saw our Michigan Tech Huskies (10-8-2) lose in the championship game of the 54th Great Lakes Invitational to the Lake Superior State Lakers (11-6-1), the Huskies look to bounce back and start 2019 on a high note in Mankato facing the Minnesota State Mavericks (14-5-1). The Mavericks are looking to shake off their recent troubles which have resulted in not seeing a win since December 14th.

Analysis

The Mavericks have had a very successful first half to their season with big wins against North Dakota (9-7-1), Minnesota (6-7-4), and Lake Superior State. They have been very consistent across the board under coach Mike Hastings with a 12.4 Sh%, averaging 3.7 goals per game, with a 22.2 PP%(14th), and 85.5 PK% (9th). In net, they have turned to senior Mathias Israelsson (7-1-0, 1.74 GAA, .908 Sv%) and freshman Dryden McKay (7-4-1, 2.23 GAA, .914 Sv %) to split the load. Recently McKay has been guarding the crease after a shaky performance from Israelsson against Bowling Green (13-3-3).

The Huskies are coming off a loss in the championship game at the GLI. They saw good play against a Michigan (6-7-6) team down Quinn Hughes and Josh Norris who are competing in the World Juniors tournament. Tech managed to shut down the Wolverines power play in addition to only giving up two goals on 38 shots. Both teams looked to be evenly matched while the championship game was a different story. The Huskies looked to be behind the entire game allowing the Lakers to take full advantage and as a result run away with the game 6-3. Robbie Beydoun was able to keep the game close giving up four goals on 38 shots until two empty net goals hammered the final nails in the coffin.

Keys to the Game

  1. Seize the moment. Right now the Mavericks haven’t won a game since the world juniors took coach Mike Hastings. That being said they haven’t had the easiest schedule in Bowling Green, Minnesota-Duluth (11-5-2), and Arizona State (14-7-1). The Huskies will have to use this to their advantage.
  2. Offensive life support. Tech is an offensive team plain and simple. Their defense has been improving greatly but is still not where the Huskies want it to be. Recently the offense hasn’t been able to continue their early season numbers.
  3. Start 2019 on a high note. The rest of this season is going to make or break the Huskies. They play the toughest part of their schedule. Tech needs to start this year on a high note and continue the momentum into the next eight weeks.

My Prediction

The Mavericks are the better team but have been struggling recently. They are going to be hungry for a win and are probably going to get one if not two. However, Beydoun (if started) might be able to steal a game. Mankato 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 via flohockey.tv (paywall) and Fox UP for video.