Series Preview - Michigan Tech

Overview:

The Michigan Technological University Huskies are coming off their bye week, getting a break after previously sweeping the Bemidji State Beavers away from home in two games that went into OT.  The Huskies are 3-5-0 in the WCHA and 4-6-0 overall.  Michigan Tech is currently unranked and sits tied for 7th in the WCHA.

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are coming off a split with the 14th-ranked St. Cloud State Huskies that was played at Amsoil.  The Bulldogs took Friday night winning 2-1, but fell to the Huskies 5-1 on Saturday night.  The Dogs are currently unranked and sit tied for 10th in the WCHA.

(MichiganTechHuskies.com)

Offense:

Lead by freshman Alex Petan with 10 points and sophomore Blake Pietila with 7 goals, the Huskies average 3.1 goals per game.  Freshman Jujhar Khaira has 8 points with 2 goals and Sophomore David Johnstone has 8 points as well.  The leading senior on the team is Steven Seigo who currently has 2 goals and 3 assists on the year.  Seigo also leads defenseman in scoring.

The Dogs have found a way to bury only 29 goals in the 12 games they have played, averaging 2.42 goals per game.  The first line has 59% of those tallies and is by far, tUMD's most powerful line.  Senior Mike Seidel leads the team with 12 points on 8 goals and 6 assists, followed by his freshman linemates Tony Cameranesi with 12 points and Austin Farley with 10.  Senior Wade Bergman leads the defenseman in points with 8, but closely followed by freshman Andy Welinski with 6.

Defense:

Tech is allowing, on average, 3.6 goals per game, the most in the WCHA.  With most of the goals coming in the last two periods (14,14).

MTU has been using 2 goalies this year in Phoenix Copley who has seen 52.8% of minutes played and Kevin Genoe who has seen 43.4% of total action.  Tech also has Jamie Phillips rostered but has only played a total of 18 minutes thus far.  Copley has a .864 save percentage and a 4.30 GAA while Genoe has a .913 save percentage and averages only 2.51 goals per game.

In 12 games the Puppies have been scored on 37 times, most of those coming in the first period, averaging 3.08 goals against per game.

Both Aaron Crandall and Matt McNeely have seen their fair share of time this year and both played about the same amount of times as well.  McNeely holds a .888 save percentage and a 2.95 goals against average while Crandall's save percentage is at .889 with a 3.15GAA.  Crandall started both games last week.

Special Teams:

Michigan tech sits in the middle of the WCHA in terms of power play conversions with 20.8% and has a penalty kill of 76.2% with 2 short handed goals for and 1 against.  Tech has had a total of 117 penalty minutes and averages 11.7 minutes per game.

Duluth's power play is able to convert 23.7 percent of the time (2nd in the WCHA) and kills off 81.4% of penalties they take.  The poor Puppies have had 224 minutes spent in the naughty box averaging 18.7 minutes per game.

(Highlights of last year's game during the unbeaten streak)

The Verdict:

Last week the Dogs played like crap.  We spent most of the time chasing the puck then maneuvering it ourselves.  This has got to stop if the Dogs are gonna start consistently winning games.  The penalty play was much better last weekend and should continue to improve as younger players gain experience and play a bit more disciplined.  I wouldn't feel so bad about last weekend if we didn't get blown out on Saturday, but that happened leaving question marks in fan's heads.

Tech has had some good games, beating the Gophers and recently sweeping Bemidji State, but have also suffered a 5 game losing streak where they were outscored 20-9.  If this were at home I would think a sweep for tBulldogs is not out of the question, but its in Houghton so realistically I'm going to say we can pick up the first game, but lose on Saturday.  Keep in mind a sweep is still not out of the question as this team definitely has the skill to accomplish this, I just need a little more consistent play in order to predict that.  Plus this is WCHA hockey, anything is possible.


GO DOGS!

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