The Michigan Tech Huskies look to bounce back after dropping both games to the Lake Superior State Lakers (20-8-2) by a score of 3-1 each night. They face the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (3-24-3) who are coming off a loss and tie against the Ferris State Bulldogs (8-21-3). The Seawolves look to spoil the Huskies’ chances of obtaining home-ice advantage for the upcoming WHCA Playoffs.

Analysis

The Seawolves have played two series since they last saw the Huskies. They split the Governor’s Cup with the Nanooks (9-18-3) by winning game one 4-1 and losing game two 2-1. This previous weekend they played Ferris State, losing game one 2-1 and skating to an official tie in game two 1-1, though eventually taking the extra point in the 3-on-3 second overtime. As far as team stats go, the only stat seeing more than a 1% change was their penalty kill, improving to 78.3% (43rd) up from 74.3%. Otherwise, this is the same Seawolves team that Tech encountered just four weeks ago.

The Huskies look to gain some much-needed conference points this coming weekend after leaving Sault Ste. Marie empty-handed last weekend. They were able to keep up with the Lakers throughout the entire series but were shut down offensively all weekend, only scoring once in each game. Goaltender Matt Jurusik looked very good.  He did not give the Lakers much of anything, and he allowed just two goals each game. Freshman Brian Halonen and Senior Jake Lucchini collected the two goals over the weekend, both coming on slap-shots from the point. Halonen, the team leader in goals, played very well over the entire series, generating scoring opportunities every chance he got. It will be interesting to see how Coach Shawhan lines up his Huskies for this upcoming series, as the dormant Tech offense that has averaged 1.5 goals over their last 10 games needs to find its stride. The main takeaways from this last series are that the Huskies are looking really good in their own zone but need to improve in the offensive zone.  

Keys to the Game

  1. Offensive presence. The Huskies need to be more active in the offensive zone, plain and simple. To have any hope of a home playoff berth, Tech’s offense needs to wake up and show up.
  2. Playoff intensity. The Seawolves are going to try spoil any attempt by the Huskies to take all six points this weekend. Tech needs to treat this like a playoff game, because every point matters at this time of year.
  3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Huskies defense and goaltending have been stellar as of late. Jurusik has been playing very well, and the defensive pairings have been successful. I won’t try to pretend I have anywhere near the experience Coach Shawhan has, but in terms of defense, Tech looks to be in a great spot.

My Prediction

The Huskies have been playing well over the past month with the results just not matching the effort. That being said, they had probably their toughest two series of the year (of conference play) in the Mavericks and Lakers. If they are able to keep that same level of play this weekend, a sweep is almost guaranteed. MTU wins 4-1, MTU wins 3-0.

How to Watch

Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), and via flohockey.tv (paywall) for video.

Featured image courtesy of Ryan Johnson