Michigan Tech: 2017 record: 2-1-0. 2016: 23-15-7
Lake Superior State: 2017 Record: 1-1-0. 2016: 11-18-7
Shawhan Mushing the Huskies
After an outstanding 2016-2017 campaign, a number of changes happened in Houghton, MI during the offseason that lead many to believe that dark days were coming for the Huskies. Outstanding goaltender Angus Redmond, who led the Huskies to a #2 WCHA & #19 NCAA finish last season left the team to go pro with the Aniheim Ducks organization (and is currently assigned to the San Diego Gulls of the AHL).
In addition to Redmond, Michigan Tech also lost their Head Coach, Mel Pearson, to take over for long-time Michigan head coach Red Berenson who retired after 33 years of coaching the Wolverines, ending with an outstanding 848-429-92 record. The Tech vacancy was filled by former assistant coach, and Sault Sainte Marie native Joe Shawhan who played for the Lakers from 1982-1987 & was a volunteer coach for their 1992 & 1994 national championships.
Last week, however, critics were silenced as Tech doubled up #16 Union and beat #6 Minnesota-Duluth to win the annual Ice Breaker tournament. The huskies hope to continue that streak this weekend against the Lakers.
Rough Seas Ahead
Those of us who were at Abel Arena on Friday last week for game 1 against NMU would think that this year was the year, much the same was as we did last year against Michigan State during GLSW. The Lakers beat the Wildcats 5-3 in the first game of a home-and-home series. Diego Cuglietta scored two goals for the Lakers, with the others coming from Max Humitz, J.T Henke and Anthony Nellis. Freshman Lukas Kaelble assisted on 3 of the 5 goals.
Saturday night was a different story, however, as NMU outscored the Lakers 4-1 with the final 3 goals coming late in their respective periods. Philip Beaulieu scored the game winning goal at 19:20 of the second, with goals 3 & 4 coming at 18:01 and 18:28 of the third.
The Lakers know firsthand just how dominant Michigan Tech can be after being trounced in the first round of the WCHA playoffs last year, losing 6-4 and 8-0. They also have not won a game against Tech since bench boss Damon Whitten took over.
The keys for the Lakers this weekend is to close out periods & not to give their top scorers in Joel L’Esperance and Mark Auk any good looks at the goal. Whitten also has to not be gun shy in pulling a goalie or shortening the bench if a player does not perform. The Huskies are a team that will take advantage of anything you give them. On paper, they have it all: goal scorers, a solid blueline & a barn full of goalies, but all of that is for naught if you can’t finish a game as strong as you started it.
The games start Friday night at 7:37pm and Saturday at 7:07pm, and will be part of the GLSW celebration.