Season 5 Episodes 5 and 6 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; Huskies Play Favorites/Swankler In The House. This week, it was an all THG crew as Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by THG beat writer Jonathan Zamaites (JZ). In this episode, they discussed Michigan Tech’s roster for the upcoming season, Michigan Tech hockey’s 2023 schedule, the goaltending situation for the Huskies, their predictions for the upcoming season and the Austen Swankler transfer news.
Let’s go line dancing
The guys started with a preview of the roster for Tech’s 2023-2024 season. JZ pointed out that Tech hasn’t lost much of their pure scoring from last year and the guys debated which of the incoming freshmen would get the most playing time. All of the guys agreed that Tech has a wonderful problem on their hand with deciding which of the forwards to play. A large portion of the conversation revolved around the newest Finnish recruits and whether they’ll be able to adapt quickly to NCAA hockey style of play. The guys talked about some of the player leadership changes this season and Tim thought that the player leaders feel like the right ones to lead the team.
How’s your schedule looking?
After discussing the roster, the guys shifted focus to Tech’s upcoming schedule. JZ thought that Tech’s schedule mimics Quinnipiac’s last year which had a weak strength of schedule, but an opportunity for a great record. The guys thought that Wisconsin and Minnesota State will be Tech’s toughest opponents. The guys discussed Tech’s exhibition game against Northern Michigan in January and none of them were a fan of having it in the middle of the season. JZ brought up the weak strength of schedule and commented that Tech has to win all of the games against teams they’re supposed to.
Later in the show, the guys took a look at the non-conference schedules of some of the other CCHA teams. Dustin commented that it’ll be a huge accomplishment for the CCHA to reach .500 in non-conference play. Even later in the show the guys discussed some possible non-conference games that Tech and Northern Michigan could consider in future seasons.
JZ asked the group for their predictions on Tech’s record at the end of the regular season. JZ started and gave a prediction of 26-9, but made sure to point out that he arrived at that number prior to the Austen Swankler transfer news. Matt took his homer throne and picked a 30 win regular season. Rob predicted 28-7, Dustin predicted 27-8 and Tim took 29 wins so as to not double up with anyone else.
JZ also asked the group for their thoughts on how the CCHA standings will look at the end of the year. All of the guys agreed that Tech would be first, followed by Northern Michigan. Dustin and Rob thought Bemidji State would finish third and Matt predicted Minnesota State in third. After that, the guys diverged in answers for the rest of the conference standings. The guys discussed the recent USCHO rankings which had Tech starting the season at tenth.
I don’t know what to do with my hands
The guys discussed the news that Austen Swankler is coming to play hockey at Michigan Tech. The guys shared their thoughts and reports on when he might arrive on campus and be allowed to start practicing and playing with the team. All of the guys were interested to see how well Swankler will integrate into the team if he doesn’t join until the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI). The guys also discussed the odd feeling of Swankler being a Husky given their history of dislike of him. Later in the show JZ talked about being cautiously optimistic on how Swankler will help Tech.
What do the numbers say?
The guys took a few minutes to point out InStat and how much it helps JZ and other THG staff with their columns. JZ loved being able to look up video on any play and player he wanted and also talked about how InStat helps him form better questions to ask coaches during interviews. JZ also brought up a new game he and THG stats guru Zach Aufdemberge (aka Augie from Analytics with Augie) will be playing this season. Augie has built a model to predict the outcomes of Tech’s games and so JZ and Augie’s model will be competing to see who is the better predictor.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 11 minutes long. There was a conversation on Tech being a goalie factory in the recent years and a conversation on the goaltending situation for the upcoming season. The guys discussed the changes to Northern Michigan’s rink. The guys discussed Michigan Tech being called “newcomers” to college hockey. There was a discussion about the lack of facilities in Houghton, Mich. to allow Michigan Tech host a hockey tournament.
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Follow us on twitter at ChasingMacPod. Join our Discord server for discussions covering Michigan Tech hockey and more. 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, Mike Anleitner’s Old Dog in Texas column every Wednesday, Zach Aufdemberge’s Analytics With Augie and Nathaniel Brose’s nationwide hockey columns. Also, keep an eye out for new recruiting articles that Tim Braun writes occasionally. 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.