Season 3, Episode 28 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide: A Control to the Chaos. This week, Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, and Rob Gilreath were joined by Michigan Tech hockey coach Joe Shawhan. In this episode they answered listener questions which covered the Loveland Regional, the 2021-2022 season, the transfer portal and position players for next season. They also previewed the NCAA Frozen Four.
Not surprisingly, there were a number of listener questions this week for Joe. The first was from THG’s own Old Dog, Mike Anleitner, who asked Joe how he rated this year’s team versus his first team from 2014-2015. Joe thought there were some similarities but thought the first team had more depth, especially on the back end. He added that neither team really won anything but noted that both teams did qualify for the NCAA Tournament and that both teams played well at the tournament.
The next listener question was from Marvin Wilson who asked Joe how he approaches the transfer portal players, and the differences between them and recruiting freshman. Joe said that many times a lot of the work is done with the portal players and many times they already know where they’re transferring to. Joe then shifted the focus to making Michigan Tech more of a destination for players. He said he hasn’t been happy with recruiting overall, and that he’s beginning to focus more on getting players from British Columbia and oversees. Rob and Tim both commented that they’re hope is Arivd Caderoth opens up a pipeline to more players from Sweden.
The third listener question asked how much assistant coach Tyler Shelast has affected recruiting in British Columbia. Joe said that Tyler is the reason that recruiting works there. Joe also talked about Tyler’s connection to the British Columbia area.
The next question came from Bill Kriege who asked if it was possible to develop straight line speed and faceoff skills at the collegiate level. Joe chuckled and commented that he knew where this question was coming from. He said that faceoffs can definitely be worked on. Joe then talked about the process that Tech uses to work on speed, which was a three tiered approach.
The final listener question from from THG’s own Jonathan Zamaites. JZ asked if Tech had a video coach in the press box who has communication with the bench. Joe confirmed that they did and then Rob talked about watching the video guys making notes during the games at the Loveland Regional. The guys then talked about the strategy of playing to other teams’ weaknesses rather than your teams’ strength.
Getting over the mental hurdle
Tim brought up this week’s Joe Shawhan Hour and asked Joe to elaborate on his comments about helping the players get over the mental hurdle of the game, specifically asking about what Joe can do to help that. Joe thought the coaching staff did well with the game plan and that the team had good practices and were ready to play. Joe also thought that the team was really good in the last two periods. Rob shared that he was told by opposing fans on the second day that they thought Michigan Tech was the better team and that Minnesota Duluth was lucky to be there.
The guys also discussed the ESPN selection show with Joe, who took the opportunity to call out the network for not mentioning Michigan Tech. Tim didn’t get nearly as angry this time, but reiterated some of his points from a previous episode about the lack of research on the part of ESPN.
Reconstructing the defense
Tim noted that there are four Tech defensemen in the transfer portal, and he asked Joe what his plan was to reconstruct the defense. Joe said that once the players are in the portal, they’re gone in his eyes. He talked about having the situation covered on the right side of the defense, but the left side was a little thin. Joe then talked about looking for exactly what Tech wants out of the portal players, and gave a recent example of a transfer player not working out. Dustin commented that the ideal player to get from the portal was Michael Karow, and Joe talked about almost putting a letter on Michael in the playoffs and how Michael has been a leader on the team all season.
Forwards and centers
Along with talking about the defense, Tim made sure to ask if Joe was looking at forwards and centers in the transfer portal as well. Joe said they are, and that they are looking to over recruit at the center position. Joe talked about many centers transitioning easy to the wing, which allows for more flexibility in the lineup each night. Rob shared his observation regarding defensemen pushing up into the play more in the last 10-15 years. Tim mused that all of the Tech players signing professional contracts this year has to help with the portal recruiting, but Joe said it hasn’t affected the team much yet.
The next position group discussed was the goalie group. Joe did not hesitate for a second to say “Yes” when asked if the goaltending situation was figured out for next year. Joe then took some time to praise Mark Sinclair for his time at Tech this past season. The guys all discussed the size of a couple of the CCHA goalies and whether or not that was why they weren’t signed to professional level contracts. Joe said that Blake Pietila will be the number one goalie going into next season, but did stress the fact that the other guys will need to get starts too.
Tim asked Joe about the Tech’s power play in their Loveland Regional game. Joe thought it was good and produced some good chances. Overall Joe said that Tech had seven or eight scoring chances on the power play. Rob tossed in that he thought it was great for Tech, as a program, to get an at-large bid to the tournament and Joe commented that the week off really helped the team to prepare. Tim brought up the Northern Michigan postponement and wondered how different things would have been. Joe thought that Tech’s chances of making the championship would have been better without the eight games in sixteen days, and also added that some players were not as prepared as they could have been.
Future non-conference games
The last discussion with Joe revolved around Tech’s non-conference schedule in the coming years. Joe said that Tech will be playing the University of Wisconsin and Robert Morris University in two years and Arizona State in three years. Joe also added, with a bit of a grin, that there is good news coming out shortly about the Great Lakes Invitational.
NCAA Frozen Four
The guys noted that the late game of the Frozen Four (Minnesota versus Minnesota State) has been bumped back to ESPNU due to Major League Baseball getting priority on ESPN2. Dustin thought that it would be Minnesota State and Michigan who make it to the championship game and that Minnesota State would come out on top. Tim thought it would be interesting to see how much of a factor the referees play and added that if Michigan gets east coast refs they could be hampered. Tim said that he thought whoever wins the Minnesota/Minnesota State game would win the title. Rob never officially gave a pick, but thought that it would be feast or famine for Michigan and also said he’d like to see Minnesota State’s lockdown defense play Michigan again.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 26 minutes long. Joe talked about what his plan would have been for the off-day if Tech had beaten Minnesota Duluth. The second part of one of the listener questions was answered. The guys talked about hats and Joe’s clothing items getting stolen. The guys tried to diagnose why Rob’s microphone sounded goofy. Tim joins the guys in “drinking” during the podcast. Dustin heard some phantom music during recording. The guys talked about the chalkiness of this years NCAA Tournament and wanting to see the expected goals for individual skaters throughout the year. The guys briefly discussed whether the Sillinger brothers are returning to Bemidji State next season. The upcoming podcast release date plans were discussed.
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Follow us on twitter at ChasingMacPod. You can submit questions through our email address, ChasingMac@techhockeyguide.com. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate and review to help us reach more people, and tell your friends. Please check out Jonathan Zamaites’ series previews every Friday and Mike Anleitner’s Old Dog in Texas column every Wednesday (you should definitely read this week’s column). Also, keep an eye out for new recruiting articles on Tuesdays. As always, special thanks to our patron saint Doc McResin for his generous donation to get this thing running, we hope you enjoy. Also, thanks to The Thank You Notes for all the bumpers in today’s episode. If you like what you hear, check them out at thethankyounotes.bandcamp.com