Happy March Huskies fans! With a new month comes the end of our 2023-2024 hockey regular season. Our Huskies are facing off against the St. Thomas Tommies in their final regular season bout. The Tommies find themselves in a similar situation to our Huskies in that they are too fighting for home ice while also dealing with a metric ton of injuries. 


This Tommies’ team that took all six points from our Huskies back in January, but have collapsed since then at no fault of their own. The month of February was particularly rough where they only one game while going to OT four times losing everyone. The main reason for this regression is due to injuries they are having to play though. They have been dressing multiple defensemen as forwards and even had to forgo the extra skater in game two last weekend. UST has taken the phase “Next man up” and gone miles beyond what that philosophy was ever intended for. 

Their saving grace has been the fact that only two of their top skater have missed any time as seen here:

Both Byers and Gay both missed time last weekend due to injury. What has been most impressive this season is the collective point totals of their top five skaters this season. They eclipse all but two teams (LSSU and Mankato) in top end scoring depth. However, Head coach Rico Blasi still leaves me scratching my head as to why Sibell is still only getting half the starts given his stellar numbers this season. Blasi has been splitting the goalie tandem all season with Trotter being the favorite most of the time and it really does seem like they are wasting a season of Sibell that could have been something special. 

As for overall team performance from last weekend, we do in fact have some instat data we can share:

Basically, the Tommies just couldn’t keep up as the games wore on. There will be the same trend this weekend if they are still not able to field a full roster, but that being said they are still very much dangerous (just look at game one’s performance).  

Looking at our Huskies, they have been dealing with the same issues with injuries. They are down 5 starters in Kyle Kukkonen (lower body), Austen Swankler (lower body), Lachlan Getz (lower body), Max Koskipirtti (undisclosed), and Matthew Campbell (undisclosed). However, they are not as bad off as the Tommies, being able to field a full lineup each night. Additionally, players have started to thrive off of the new opportunity with the likes of Tyrone Bronte, Alex Nordstrom, Marcus Pedersen, and Evan Orr all playing major parts in last week’s sweep of the Falcons. 

If those players are able to keep this trend going, our Huskies might just be able to out grind their opponents as they look for a home ice and a CCHA tournament championship. UST will be a good first test though, as they are a known entity and will out work a lazy but more skilled hockey team as seen when they swept Tech just a month ago.

Keys to the Game

  1. Outlast the storm. The key to the series is going to come down to stamina. If UST is still hurt (which I am currently assuming as much) they will be hot right out of the gate but then fall off greatly as the weekend goes on. If Tech can wear them down, then they should be able to come away with all six points.
  2. A good foundation. Tech’s defensive structure has continued to be much better than it was in the early in the season. They need to keep improving upon this still. Blake can and will bail you out of almost any situation, but you need to give him the chance too.
  3. Depth play. This is going to sound insane, but stat for stat UST’s top guys are just better than Tech’s. Collectively they have more points and are able to show that it’s not a fluke. Tech is going to need to take advantage when those top 5 forwards are not on the ice this weekend while also shutting them down when they are.

My Prediction

I think the Huskies should be able to take 4 points this weekend at the minimum give the St. Thomas injuries. That being said, that also means they have to actually show up against a team that isn’t a basement dwelling Bowling Green. If they are able to see the same contribution from the bottom six forwards then I see a sweep happening. UST wins 3-1, MTU wins 4-2.

The guys on our Chasing MacNaughton Podcast also made predictions for this coming series against the Tommies.

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.