On Tuesday, February 21, the Minnesota Wild hosted the Los Angeles Kings. It was a pretty normal Tuesday but after using every angle available, THG was able to get a press pass to the game. The reason why? Two former Huskies are key parts of the Los Angeles Kings, who currently sit just two points out of the the lead in the Western Conference behind the Vegas Golden Knights. Matt Roy, a name all of you know, has been a big part of the Kings for going on five seasons now. He played in black and gold for three seasons from 2014 until 2017, then a full season with the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, before spending the 2018-19 season bouncing back and forth between Ontario and Los Angeles. Now he’s a staple in their lineup and Tuesday was no exception. He led all skaters in time on ice through the first forty minutes before tapering off in the third as the Kings pushed for a tying goal, or any goal for that matter. I got the chance to chat with him after the game, and he seemed a little surprised about leading the team at all — but pointed out that the Kings didn’t have many power play minutes that night. True, the Kings have averaged nearly 6 minutes of power play time a game, but only had one abbreviated penalty that ended after just 1:15 thanks to a penalty by former Wild player, Kevin Fiala.
The other former Husky on the Los Angeles Kings is goaltender, Pheonix Copley. This is his first year in the Kings organization after spending the last five plus seasons with the Washington Capitals, where he spent all but 29 games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. Pheonix left Michigan Tech after two great seasons in 2012-13 and 2013-14, where he beat out current volunteer assistant, Jamie Phillips, to be the primary netminder and helped the Huskies win their first GLi Championship (2012) since 1981. This year, after starting out the season in Ontario, Copley made his first start for LA on December 6 at Ottawa, replacing fellow NCAA alum Jonathan Quick, who once played for UMass. Since getting his call up, Copley has started 25 games versus Quick’s seven, with over half of Quick’s starts coming in December. Copley is putting up respectable numbers, including a .902 save percentage and 2.73 goals against average, which with LA’s offense has been good enough to get him a record of 17-4-0-2.
On Tuesday night, Copley allowed what would have been Adam Beckman’s first NHL goal on a power play, but the play was call back for offsides on an entry that happened well after the disallowed goal. Then to start the second period, the Wild won the faceoff and took just 13 seconds to score after Ryan Hartman sniped one over Copley’s stick-side shoulder. That would be a bad omen as Ryan Hartman would snipe one over Copley’s golf-side shoulder with just under 5 minutes left in the game. The Kings would fight hard to the end, scoring a goal of their own with 21 second left in the third period, but they never really got a chance to tie the game and lost 2-1.
It was a pretty solemn locker room to be the first NHL one THG has ever been in, but after speaking with Matt and Pheonix briefly before they packed up and left for New York both are excited for the Huskies and hoping to see them lift the MacNaughton Cup this weekend. Matt specifically said the following: “Just in general, I’m happy to see the team doing so well back there. I keep tabs on them, I talk to Tyler Shelast quite a bit, so it’s great to see them doing well. It’s great to see Joe doing so well, he was my D coach when I was there. It’s great to see them having success, and I definitely miss it up there, I miss the culture and my classmates.”
Pheonix Copley said similar, wishing the Huskies the best of luck. Only time will tell if the Huskies can win the the MacNaughton, but hopefully the Huskies can stay in the news long enough via the Mason Cup Playoffs and NCAA tournament to keep Pheonix and Matt watching from an NHL rink near you. Michigan Tech is lucky to have such great alums that have spent time in the NHL making a name for themselves, representing the Black and Gold with respect, dignity and on ice success. They have the night off tonight so I’m sure they’ll be following from a far as the Huskies face Minnesota State in the last regular season game with the MacNaughton Cup on the line.
Tim is a 2004 graduate of Michigan Tech. He is a co-founder of both Mitch’s Misfits and Tech Hockey Guide. With recent additions to the staff, Tim is again able to focus on his passion, recruiting. He currently works as an environmental engineer and resides in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area.