Well Huskies fans, here we are in November and hopefully with this new month of the college hockey season comes with a new Michigan Tech Hockey team. After tying and losing in Upstate New York, they face off against the best CCHA team in the current pairwise…
The Augustana Vikings?
Yes, you read that correctly and we are indeed in the worst timeline of the Michigan Tech Hockey Cinematic Universe. The Augies (not to be confused with THG’s own Zach “Augie” Aufdemberge) are heading to Houghton after tying Denver and winning against Colorado College. Our Huskies will have their work cut out for them this weekend.
First and foremost ,we’ll need to address this Vikings roster as it is a perfect case study on how to make a team out of the NCAA transfer portal (similarly seen to what Coach Prime has done with the Colorado football team). Looking at their top performers so far this season we see:
The one name I know a majority of readers will know is goaltender Zack Rose, who played for Bowling Green for four seasons. Otherwise, Vachon (Colgate), Naumovski (Niagara), Ruikka (Providence), Mobley (Clarkson), and Ziemer (St. Cloud) are also from the portal. In fact 15 players are from the DI transfer portal while Colton Friesen played DIII hockey for UW Superior where he had 22 pts in 29 games.
Quite frankly this table doesn’t do this team justice as the Vikings are rivaling the Vegas Golden Knights in terms of scoring depth with a total of 11 different players with at least one goal and 15 players with points. Whereas our Huskies have 9 players with at least one goal and 14 players with at least 1 point. However, if we were to raise the criteria a bit to the number of players with 2 or more points the Vikings hold steady at 14 while our Huskies drop to only 7 players.
Here is where I must share the bad news again that TECHnical difficulties have again robbed us of Instat charts once again. (Fans can thank Hudl for acquiring Instat for this). Instead, enjoy this Tech Hockey meme courtesy of Code Monkey in THG’s own discord:
Now with that out of the way, we do have Instat data for the Augies. Looking at their 9 goals last weekend they definitely had some puck luck on their side with three goals having a xG of 0.1 or less. Additionally, looking at the video for some of the goals the Vikings both gave up and scored in the midst of confusion and chaos. They will look to repeat this against our Huskies. One thing’s for sure, Tech might have more skill, but the Vikings will out work them across all four lines.
Speaking of our Huskies, this past October was their worst start to a hockey season since their 2013-14 season where they went 1-4-1 in October. The biggest story is still the team’s lack of scoring in averaging a horrible 1.71 goals a game currently. Sadly their defense hasn’t been much better at 3.14 goals against a game with Blake and Max still getting left out to dry in net. For whatever reason this Huskies’ team is deathly allergic to finding the back of the net and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
The fact of the matter is that Vikings currently lead in almost every facet:
The only thing our Huskies have them beat is the powerplay. Otherwise, the Augies have more depth, discipline (they don’t take many penalties), and momentum. This isn’t to say Tech hasn’t been looking better, but when the Lakers are able to take two wins out of the same two opponents is concerning.
Keys to the Game
- Step it up. We may only be 7 games but it’s time to start calling out some players who just aren’t getting it done. Upperclassmen Arvid Caderoth, Levi Stauber, Alex Nordstrom, and Blais Richartz have been all under performing. These four have yet to see the score sheet and this is especially concerning for Caderoth who has regressed every year since having an impressive freshman year 3 years ago.
- Tracing Back Roots. Tech needs to return to their defense first roots Coach Shawhan has ingrained in this team. If the Huskies aren’t going to score, neither should their opponents. 3.14 goals against is their worst average since the 2013-14 season (again).
- Depth Scoring. L. Pietila, K. Kukkonen, Mosley, and Koskipirtti can not win a hockey game by themselves. Lines 2, 3, and 4 need to start producing in some way shape or form. The Vikings can and will score with any line that is on the ice, but our Huskies seem incapable of doing so.
Augustana Head Coach Garrett Raboin said on the Chasing Mcnaughton Podcast that “It’s only October” when asked what he can say to Tech fans struggling. Well I tend to agree with his sentiment, Michigan Tech Hockey has yet to prove to me they can win. As said by a former Misfits President during Tech’s dark ages “If you don’t expect a win, they can’t hurt you” . Augustana wins 3-1, Augustana Wins 4-1.
The guys on our Chasing MacNaughton Podcast also made predictions for this coming series against the Vikings.
Cover photo courtesy Michigan Tech Athletics.
InStat plots created by Zach Aufdemberge.
How to Watch
Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), via flohockey.tv* (paywall) for video. Game 1 will be Friday at 7:07 Est. Game 2 will be Saturday at 6:07 EST.
*Flohockey.tv is also the source of all games played in CCHA buildings this season so don’t be afraid to sign up for a month or the year. Flo Sports now has apps for iOS, Android (with Chromecast support), Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.
Jonathan graduated from Michigan Tech in the spring of 2018 with a degree in Physics and Social Science in addition to a minor in Social and Behavioral Studies. He spent his college career watching hockey with the Misfits where he became the treasurer in his last year. When not traveling to away games he resides in Hancock working for a local engineering company and keeping up with all things Tech Hockey.