Well Tech Hockey fans, our Huskies finally did it. They picked up their first win of the season and then they doubled their total on Saturday. The offense exploded for 10 goals across both games beating the Augustana Vikings. They make their way back to Northern Minnesota to officially start CCHA conference play with the Bemidji State Beavers. The Beavers are in a state of figuring things out after being swept by the Lake Superior State Lakers last weekend.
Bemidji State is currently 3-5-0 (2-2-0 CCHA) with their wins coming against a weak opponent in Army (in overtime) and St. Thomas’ team that is much improved from just a season ago. They have losses against Wisconsin, UMD, and LSSU. With this spread of opponents it’s really hard to gauge where BSU stands in the current field of college hockey. The loss to Wisconsin is justified as the Badgers have blown everyone’s expectations out of the water, while being swept by both UMD and LSSU make you wonder if there are deeper flaws though the Lakers have also proved the media and fans wrong so far this season.
The obvious way to compare BSU to Tech this early in the season is using the Wisconsin game (4-3 loss in OT) and the UMD series (G1: 4-0 loss; G2: 5-4 OT loss). Whereas the Huskies were swept in close games against the Badgers and tied the Bulldogs. However, those games were before our Huskies finally found themselves in the recent New York trip and homestand against Augustana. Additionally, BSU goalie Mattias Sholl who is their foundation was hurt in game one against UST and hasn’t seen the ice since. This leaves the Beavers in a tough spot as their #2 and #3 goalies in Gavin Enright and Raythan Robbins are not nearly as consistent as Sholl and their streak of games since his injuries shows that. The problem this creates is that you don’t know what you’ll get in the net on any given night. Will it be a shut out like Enright gave in game 2 against UST or the total collapse seen in the Lake State series?
Low and behold we can actually dive into some instat charts as THG’s Augie has fought and won (as of right now) against the backend changes that took place.
Game one saw a very close match (hence the overtime result) with the Beaver players consistently placing higher than the LSSU skaters in xG. Though the theme for BSU this series was soft goals given up as seen in the shot maps with four Laker goals coming with an xG of under 0.1. Additionally, the Lakers were able to keep Bemidji to the outside of their offense zone resulting in a ton of low quality of chances. This leads to what Tech fans know all too familiarly in that having a high number of shots doesn’t mean that they are great scoring chances.
Finally, looking at the Beaver’s leading scorers we find another flaw that Huskies fans will also know too much about in lack of depth:
Outside of Roed and Looft point totals plummet. The Huskies defensive corps will really only have to worry about one line and defensive pairing worth of players at any given time right now. Excluding last weekend’s performance against the Vikings, BSU and MTU were in basically the same position depth wise.
The difference is our Huskies finally started to see some fruits of their labor in a 10 goal weekend. I won’t dig into the stats too much as we’ll see Augie’s take on it this week, but needless to say last weekend was a desperate change of pace for fans of Tech Hockey. We saw a glimpse of what this team is capable of, flaws and all. Game one was a preview of what our new incoming class was brought in to do while game two was a fall back to Tech’s steady contributors.
Keys to the Game
- Clean it up. Most readers who are in the THG discord already know my feelings (good and bad) regarding CCHA officials with a few specific refs in mind. However, my detractors will say (and rightly so) that if our Huskies play clean, they won’t give them a reason to blow their whistles. This last weekend Tech took too many penalties and needed to do a better job at playing clean hockey no matter which official is tapped for a particular series. I concede I can be wrong regarding certain calls, but I will stand by my stance that officiating could be much more consistent.
- [Insert pun about depth scoring here]. I am quite frankly getting tired of having to figure out a way to differently say the “Huskies need more scoring depth” (and we are only in week 6). So I’m not even going to try. Isaac Gordon and Ryland Mosley were responsible for seven goals last weekend and though it is great to see them each get a hat trick, it isn’t good for the rest of the team’s production. Luckily, players like Pedersen, Richartz, Rasmussen, and Works were able to get their names on the score sheet too.
- Snake Bitten. This is particularly for one player in Arvid Caderoth. He could have brought all the money in the world to the MAC last weekend and still not buy a goal let alone a point. The Co-Captain plays a pivotal role on this Tech squad with 20+ mins a game taking draws on both the power play and penalty kill. Despite going pointless this past weekend he played well and appears to be on the verge of getting over the hump. I doubt he’ll see this piece, but if he does I hope he grips his stick slightly less tight and not worry about points as he is still a valuable asset to this Tech team.
I see two similar teams going head to head this weekend. Both Bemidji and Tech are still trying to figure things out. However, the Beavers are probably a week or two behind the Huskies in terms of putting it all together. Our Huskies finally look to be playing as a team and buying into Michigan Tech Hockey. I give the edge to Tech, but they need to prove that last weekend wasn’t a one off. MTU wins 4-2, BSU wins 4-3.
The guys on our Chasing MacNaughton Podcast also made predictions for this coming series against the Beavers.
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 8:07 ET. Game 2 will be Saturday at 7:07 ET.
*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.