Our Michigan Tech Huskies are finally back at home after an extended period of away games for GLI and road series at St. Thomas. They are hoping to bounce back against a reduced Bemidji State team missing key players. The Beavers just had a bye week after splitting with Ferris State two weeks prior to this weekend. 


The Beavers are a lot like our Huskies this season in that they have been consistently inconsistent. They have put strong performances together against decent teams while also faltering against weaker opponents. This rematch should show fans what happens when two teams without much of an identity clash. Looking at their top players we see: 

The Beavers are going to be without Graduate Defenseman Kyle Looft due to an apparent wrist injury. However, they have gotten back their number 1 goalie in Mattias Sholl. Sholl has been back since mid December with mixed results though more likely than not any losses are not as a result of his play. The team playing in front of him has been most of the downfall of this team with them underperforming in special teams (14.9% PP%, 74% PK%). Additionally, it doesn’t help that they have been taking a large number of penalties these last few weeks just digging themselves into a larger hole. 

We do have some InStat data, but in typical InStat fashion their most recent series against Ferris is non-existent so we’ll have to look at their series against St. Cloud from December 29th and 31st. 

This series isn’t the best comparison as the Beavers were missing players due to World Juniors, but it does show how they play when down key players like they will be this weekend against Tech. Fans should expect BSU players to be caught out of position resulting in them probably taking a penalty while trying to compensate for such play. 

Speaking of being caught out of position, let’s talk about our Huskies now… Augie should™ have a recap for us all at some point. What I will say is that for a team missing only one key player in Arvid Caderoth, they should have not been swept by a less talented St. Thomas team. Sadly I can’t give a single reason as to why this season has been so tough for our Huskies. It’s a culmination of things that add up to what we’ve seen. 

To boil things down, as Tim said in the most recent Chasing MacNaughton Podcast, the Huskies are averaging the same amount of goals as last year. But, this year’s team is giving up 2.9 goals against this season where a year ago they were at 2.3. This has resulted in not a single game where Tech allowed less than two goals a game, something that is typically unheard of with Blake Pietila in net. Whether it’s due to the young defense, the loss of Jamie Phillips as a goaltending coach or some other factor, one thing is sure Tech needs a minimum of 3 goals a game to even have a chance at winning. 

Keys to the Game

  1. Three’s company. As stated above, the Huskies need at least three goals a game this season to even have a chance at winning. They will need to take the NMU approach to college hockey and outscore their problems as they can’t do it with defense and goaltending right now.
  2. Forced errors. Tech will need to force BSU to have players take penalties due to them being out of position. This will come in the form of offensive rushes that split the D or in the neutral zone if the Beavers conduct bad changes. If Tech can get on the powerplay there is a chance they can score a few goals this weekend.
  3. Back to basics. One issue that last weekend saw was the Huskies’ inability to just put shots on net. Instead they would get too fancy either with passes, or trying to get set up perfectly. Meanwhile if they would just shoot the puck and try to bank in a rebound or some other net-front chaos the game could have looked a lot different.

My Prediction

I think our Huskies will split with the Beavers. They have yet to put things together this season and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Tech has two solid lines but the bottom six is still a patchwork of players that are still trying to find the right chemistry. The defense corps is trying its best, but still gets split in the defensive zone causing Blake to have to bail the team out more frequently. Finally, Blake has seemingly been figured out this season by at least the CCHA; he needs to adjust his game in some way to keep opponents guessing. BSU wins 4-2, MTU wins 3-2. 

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 7:07 ET. Game 2 will be Saturday at 6:07 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.