After starting the season with a 1-3 record following consecutive series against ranked teams, the Michigan Tech Huskies are being rewarded for their perseverance.
They were swept at home by No. 3 Minnesota Duluth in their opening weekend followed by a bye week the next. The time off allowed the Huskies to regroup and prepare for their upcoming eight-game road trip.
The trip started with a split with No. 14 Wisconsin, helping instill some self-assurance in the team after a 22-17-5 record last season, in time for their first WCHA contest. They rode that assurance to a sweep of their own, downing Alabama Huntsville to reach the .500 mark at 3-3.
“It's important to get this start in league play,” Huskies coach Joe Shawhan told the team website. “We come out of this with a little bit of confidence, and it feels good to win on a Saturday night.”
The Huskies will look to build on the sweep, continuing their road trip against the 4-4 Ferris State Bulldogs, who sit 2-0 in WCHA play themselves. The Huskies lost three of four against the Bulldogs last season.
“We want to have a good week of practice and go into our third straight week on the road with a good effort,” Shawhan added.
That effort will run through the entire lineup, as Shawhan has been able to steadily rely on his team to put in a collective effort early on. While the Huskies haven’t exactly been offensive dynamos—collecting 17 goals through six games—they’ve been a deep scoring team through those game with 13 different goal scorers and 18 different point-getters.
Only Minnesota State has more goal scorers, and only Bowling Green and Ferris State have more point-getters, with 22 and 20, respectively. Bowling Green has played three more games than Tech while Minnesota State and Ferris State have each played two more.
Last season, the Huskies finished the year with 19 goal scorers and 24 point-getters, scoring 3.04 goals per game. A loss of several key scoring seniors—and having played just six games—has seen those numbers drop, averaging 2.83 goals per game.
But it has made way for younger players, including four freshmen and two sophomores who sit third through eighth in team scoring this season. Once the older guys start to get back to previous levels and the younger guys begin to get more comfortable, the offense will likely pick up even more.
Add in defensemen Keegan Ford, Colin Swoyer, and Seamus Donohue, who sit second, fourth, and sixth in team scoring, respectively. Three offensively inclined defensemen who regularly join the rush has helped raise their teammates’ levels and increase the offense.
#WCHA Defenseman of the Week: @keegs_7 (@mtuhky)— WCHA Men's Hockey (@WCHA_MHockey) November 5, 2018
1⃣🚨 (t-1st WCHA defensemen)
2⃣🍎 (t-1st WCHA blueliners)
3⃣ points (t-1st WCHA d-men)
Assisted on GWG both nights, helping Huskies to a road sweep at UAH.#mtuhky | #FollowTheHuskies | #WeAreWCHA | #TraditionStartsHere pic.twitter.com/NvGXgX9g6D
As long as the team remains confident and stays true to its game, they’ll continue to get offense from the entire lineup and build on last season.
Don’t miss the Huskies take on the Bulldogs this weekend right here on FloHockey as six points sit on the line in the WCHA.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.