Last week was a tough one for the Huskies, I was a little worried about how they would respond. Their opponents this week come off a pretty convincing sweep of Colorado College, so how did the Huskies fair? Well you probably know already that Tech swept the weekend at home with a cumulative score on the weekend of 9 to 0. But, did we get lucky or was what we did this weekend something that should be repeatable? Lets dive into the numbers and see what we can find.
Friday October 28th: Michigan Tech 6 – St Lawrence 0
The first period of the game one was pretty close, but the next five periods Tech was completely in control. Certainly a nice change of pace from last weekend. The Huskies looked great all around on Friday, it was great to see the power play finally come to life after a slow start to the season. The defense did a great job of keeping the Saints to the outside and forcing shots from the point. Blake only really needed to make a couple big saves, mostly on the penalty kill, but he locked it down when needed. It can be tough to stay mentally in the game when you spend so much of it watching all the action on the other end of the ice.
I could watch this on loop for an hour, Tech took very few bad shots in this game. And even the shots from the point that are typically low percentage shots that I don’t like to see us take were fairly successful because we were able to get players setup in front of the net before taking a lot of those shots. The real problem is when you are the first person into the zone and take a shot from the blue line with no one screening the goalie, no one there for a rebound. Those shots are just a turnover more times than not.
For the first few minutes after I made this chart, I was just smiling like an idiot looking at how nearly every Tech player outperformed every St Law player. Once I stopped, the first thing I noticed was how little ice time Jack Works got compared to how much I noticed him on the ice. From watching the game, I would have guessed he must have been out there for at least 15 minutes and in reality he was out there for 9:40. That might be because he doesn’t see any time on the PK and is on second PP unit.
Saturday October 29th: Michigan Tech 3 – St Lawrence 0
This game was much closer on the scoreboard, and that comes in large part due to the Saints getting better goaltending on Saturday night. While we ended with right around three expected goals and three actual goals, Zetterquist was only in net for two of them and in general looked significantly better in game two. Despite the remaining close on the scoreboard most of the game, Tech was definitely the better team the whole game.
Once again, the Huskies were able to get to the net and take a lot of shots from dangerous areas. The main difference between Friday and Saturday in terms of actual scoring was Zetterquist didn’t let in three goals on shots from the point. On the other end of the ice it was a very good showing from Tech defensively and kudos to Blake Pietila for being able to once again stay sharp all night without much action on his side of the ice.
Overall Saturday was a little less of brutal smackdown, with a handful of St Law skaters with significant ice time breaking the 50% xG mark. But looking at the players with the most ice time on both teams shows a clear difference once again. The only line that had success for the Saints was Gavars, Buhl, Cristall, and they only had 7:44 minutes together. It’s been nice to see how well Jake Crespi has been adjusting to playing back on defense, both games this weekend he has been near the top right of this chart and I’m impressed with how quickly he has been able to become effective as a defenseman.
This week was a much better performance overall, and it made it a lot more fun to write about. It’ll be interesting to see if the Huskies can keep a similar style of play at Bowling Green. I should be able to make it down for at least the Friday game, so if you see me there come say hello. If you have any questions about the charts, my analysis, or just want to say hello, please leave a comment or reach out to me on the THG discord server (@Augie) and I’d be happy to try and answer your questions.