After taking a disappointing 5 out of 6 points from a now 2-25-1 St. Thomas team, our Michigan Tech Huskies (16-8-2, 15-3-2 (1-5) Pairwise)  are on a quick road trip to Marquette Michigan to finish up their make-up series against the Northern Michigan Wildcats (15-12-1, 12-12-1 (3-0) Pairwise). The Wildcats find themselves coming off a split with the Bemidji State Beavers (14-16-0, 13-15-0 (1-1) Pairwise).

Analysis

The Wildcats managed a split after a rough Tuesday game against the Huskies where they still found themselves without top scorer Hank Crone and number one goaltender Rico DiMatteo. Game one was Charlie Glockner continuing his string of starts since DiMatteo has been out. They delivered two goals on 26 shots broken down here: 

Game 1

The Beavers had a few very high danger chances in front of the net while most of NMU’s shots were from what coach Shawhan would call “Hard Ice”; the area between the face off dots and the goal line. 

Game two saw the Beavers take revenge and finally start to turn things around by winning their first game since January 14th. The Wildcats did end up losing Glockner 9 minutes into the 2nd after an unfortunate collision with a Beavers player. As a result, Nolan Kent was called into service playing in his first game since October 30th. The Wildcats weren’t able to overcome losing Glocker and gave up four goals. The shots can be seen below:

Game 2

The shots for BSU were, again, high danger with the only difference being Kent being able to stop them. 

Given his recent performances, I would assume Glockner would be the start pending his health. The worst case scenario is Kent starting for the Wildcats- meaning that both Glockner and DiMatteo are out for one reason or another. Additionally, we are unsure of Crone’s status, so this could be a repeat of last Tuesday’s game: a lack of scoring for the Wildcats.

Our Huskies again saw their fair share of troubles against the Tommies. Their shootout win (NCAA tie) may have had little effect on their overall CCHA conference position, but has been devastating to their pairwise prospects. As of writing this the Huskies are currently in 8th, but if we were to change the result of this past weekend to a sweep, the Huskies would be 6th. Playing continue the “what if” game, if the Huskies won their Friday in regulation, they would currently be in 5th. Instead, the Huskies inability to play above their opponent has caused them to be in a precarious position. 

Here are the shot charts from both games:

Game 1
Game 2

Within these plots, you can see how the Huskies managed to give up three goals to the Tommies. All of the Tommies’ goals came from the point blank “hard ice” area. The Huskies were able to get some “hard ice” goals of their own, but they lacked the amount of high danger that the Tommies were able to produce. 

The Huskies’ players that were able to produce consisted mostly of their top line with a few goals coming from others in Thorne and Misiak. Tech’s depth scoring has been hit or miss lately, with the only consistent production coming from the top line. The coaching staff will need to be able to coax some more offense out of this team if they want to see a continuation of success.

Keys to the Game

  1. Hard Ice. Coach Shawhan has long stated the need for scoring on hard ice. The Huskies need to continue getting close shots to the net and crash it.
  2. Keep your cool. The Huskies saw their first major penalties of the season last weekend. The game with Northern is going to be physical. They need to keep their heads and not escalate anything.
  3. Continued defensive effort. The Huskies saw some lapses in defense in Friday’s game. The D corps will need to try to continue to right the ship and carry over the performance in Saturday’s shutout.

My Prediction

I think all other teams will look at UST’s game plan and try to mimic it to the best of their ability. However, NMU’s team isn’t really built to play the super defensive style that the Tommies were able to produce. I would be more inclined to see them try to again just out score their opponent. As a result I see this as Tech’s game to lose. MTU wins 4-2.

Cover photo courtesy Michigan Tech Athletics.

InStat plots created by Zach Aufdemberge

How to Watch

Tuesday’s games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), via flohockey.tv* (paywall) for video, and broadcasted Fox UP featuring Mark Evans & Dave Ellis. Tuesday’s game is at 6:37 EST.

*Flohockey.tv is also the source of all games played in CCHA buildings this season so don’t be afraid to sign up for a month or the year. Flo Sports now has apps for iOS, Android (with Chromecast support), Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.