Well folks I finally can go outside without immediately sweating, it must be time for hockey to start up again. The season kicks off with the battle of the lift bridge boyz. After a tough 22-23 season Duluth is looking to return to their recent form as on of college hockey’s best teams. Meanwhile the Huskies are coming off a surprisingly good season, thanks in large part to Blake Pietila being unreal. With Blake returning, and some exciting transfers/freshmen, there are high expectations for Michigan Tech this season. Shoutout to whoever makes the schedule for giving me a single game weekend to warm up for the season and remember how to write words.
Saturday, October 7th Michigan Tech 2 – Minnesota Duluth 2
I don’t know about you,
but I’m feeling twenty-two but this chart feels right. The first period was ROUGH, the huskies looked rushed and out of sync. Duluth was making crisp tape to tape passes, Michigan Tech was dumping the puck out of their zone as soon as it touched their stick. The second and third periods felt much closer, passes started to connect a bit more often and the Huskies even had some sustained offensive zone time. In a shocking turn of events the Huskies best player was likely Blake Pietila. Worth noting that Zach Stejskal was also quite good in the first game of the season, if this is what he is gonna look like in his second year as a starter the Bulldogs are going to be in good shape.
I think the biggest take away I see here is the both teams were able to get a lot of shots in the slot and close to the net. From watching the game, I’m inclined to believe that was due more to sloppy play on the defensive end from both teams rather than because either team was playing particularly well offensively. This is what happens at the beginning of the year, I’m sure both teams will tighten up their defense as the season goes on. Both goalies had to bail out their teams a lot on Saturday.
Well this doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of the game, but given how rough the first period was it makes sense that the overall xG would be significantly shifted in Duluth’s favor. It is good to see that the players we are counting on to be out best up front (Kukkonen, Mosley, L. Pietila) all looked quite good. We also see a very impressive first game from Matthew Campbell, have the second highest on ice xG share of the team while playing over twenty minutes. Fun fact that doesn’t show super well on this chart but I wanted to include anyways. Chase, Jed, and Logan finished the game within four (4) seconds of each other in total ice time with 22:45, 22:42, 22:41 respectively.
No thoughts, just vibes
I hope you enjoyed taking a look at some nice charts and graphs with me. 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.
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