Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good Week for Tech Players

After stealing 3 points from supposedly "good" Colorado College, Husky players were honored in all three of the Red Baron WCHA Player of the Week positions. Tyler Shelast and Lars Helminen were both nominated for Offensive and Defensive Players of the week, while first year sophomore Alex Gange, was elected Rookie of the Week with his 2 point weekend. He leads the rookies for the Huskies in goals and assists.

The Huskies haven't made much headway in national polls, but remain strong, currently 15th in PWR and 17th in RPI. The hunt for home ice is getting hot as well, with Tech sitting a mere 3 points behind North Dakota, who remain idle this week as the Huskies go to Mankato to face the Mavericks. Almost all the WCHA teams have been showing their strength as of late, and will make a tooth-and-nail scrap for #5 an inevitability. Here's to hoping our Huskies can keep their hot streak alive against some most formidable opponents.

Here's the press release on Gange from the WCHA:

Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week
Alex Gagne
Fr., C, Michigan Tech

MADISON, Wisc. - Alex Gagne, a first-year center iceman for the Michigan Tech University Huskies, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Jan. 30-Feb. 4 after helping his team secure three of four possible points in a weekend conference series against No. 14-ranked Colorado College.

A 6-0, 195-pounder from Rock Forest, Quebec, Gagne tallied a goal and an assist, produced seven shots on goal and earned a +2 plus-minus rating as the host Huskies played the Tigers to a 2-2 overtime tie last Friday (Jan. 26) before coming back for a 1-0 victory last Saturday (Jan. 27).

Gagne scored the game-opening goal in the second period and had six shots on goal in the 2-2 tie in the series opener and then came back to set up teammate Tyler Shelast's game-winning goal in the second period last Saturday night.

Through 22 games played this season, Gagne is MTU's top-scoring rookie with five goals, eight assists and 13 points.

Also nominated this week were: Brock Trotter, Fr, F, DU; and Andreas Nodl, Fr, F, SCSU.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Denver Rejects Escape Houghton with One Point

Apologies for the lateness of this post. It's a little bit of laziness, a little bit of a busyness and a little bit more of laziness.

This past weekend, it was the Huskies' turn to take some points from Colorado College. Earlier in the season, we were very generous to give CC four points in Colorado Springs. And I know it's always said around this time of the season, not only for the Huskies, but for every team.... WE NEED POINTS. In the fight for home ice, it's crucial that we got points this past weekend.

Luckily we did. (You're welcome, Pioneers.)

Friday night was a great showing by Tech! They came out and played like they had been playing at the beginning of the season, which is something they haven't done as much lately. I thought overall, the play was a lot cleaner, the passes prettier, and OH WOW the opportunities that they set up! They set themselves up so many times for goals... but unfortunately, so many times just couldn't finish. I'll blame a little bit of that on the Tiger's goaltender Zaba, but most of it was that the Tigers got lucky.

The first period, just like so many at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena, ended without a goal. But the second period, which is overall usually the Huskies' best period, proved to be just that for them. Alex Gagne and Tyler Shelast each found a way around Zaba and netted goals for the Huskies. The two goals came at 2 minutes and 17 seconds of each other... and just like that, Tech was up 2-0. Though it's a comfortable lead for the time being, it's not a time to skate around and protect it. Sadly, just over 5 minutes later, CC's Chad Rau cut our lead in two. And just for fun, I'd like to mention that there is a Chad Rau on my senior design team. He plays hockey for Tech's club team. I know you all cared to know. That would've been awesome if he played for the Huskies.. then there would be Chad Rau and Chad Rau on the ice. A couple of years ago, UMD had a Nick Anderson... and we all know about Tech's Nick Anderson (an electrical engineer now!) who graduated last year. Our Nick Anderson was definitely better.

...Wow, talk about a tangent...

Like I was saying, so we got this game... MTU 2, CC 1... second period ends. The third period *should* be the one where Tech always outplays the enemy...especially the ones without skating treadmills, as CC is, the last I've heard. Well, apparently CC wanted to win the game too. Who knew! So they put in another past Teslak. This of course forces OT and interferes with our bar time. Now CC is on everyone's pooplist. Plus, it's OT. Who doesn't nearly have a heart attack in OT? The last OT us Tech fans experienced is one that we lost with only 11 seconds left in the game. We're not fond of the extra five minutes in the game, even if it is bonus hockey.

Luckily this time, the opposition doesn't score with 11 seconds left. It was decided that Tech and CC will each take one point. The series would be settled the next night. I should also mention that MTU outshot #14 CC 41-25. Not too bad.

Saturday night, CC found a little bit of defense, holding the Huskies to only 21 SOG. However, in the end, Tyler Shelast's 2nd period SICK goal would prevail. That was the goal people were talking about all night long. That was the goal I missed because I turned my head for TWO SECONDS. DOH!

I've seen Tech in many 1-0 games... but they've always been on the wrong side of those. It's finally nice to be on the good side of that score. And with that game, Robby Nolan brilliantly earned his first collegiate shut out.

The powerplay was still lacking. This is definitely an area that needs to be worked on.. but everything else looked fantastic. Home ice is still within reach!

Also, the UAA trip recap will still be coming. I've just been very busy. Patience is key.

And as a side note, I would like to wish the Colorado College Tigers a happy 50th year anniversary of their last NCAA National Championship!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I'll Take the Win, You Take the Lawson

Its 1:30am EST right now, and the Huskies have just finished securing the split out in Anchorage. That brings them to 3-1 against the surprisingly strong Seawolves this year, and its safe to say that these past two games were much better than the 9-0 debacle and the follow-up loss by the Seawolves.

Friday night was taken by a hungry Seawolf team who took advantage of many lucky bounces and secured a 3-2 victory over a Husky team stricken with illness for the night. Saturday turned the tables, as the Huskies came out strong, maintaining a lead through most of the game and sending UAA goaltender Nathan Lawson back to his prima donna ways. Michael-Lee Teslak finished up a full Saturday nighter, helping the Huskies to a 4-1 win with some fabulous saves.

A relatively "normal" weekend in the WCHA finds the Huskies alone in 8th, a mere two points behind #5 North Dakota. Minnesota's invincibility seems to have been eliminated by last week's Badgering, as Denver took a game in their series, while UND and SCSU both swept their opponents, Bemidji State and UMD, respectively.

Though the Huskies didn't gain the 4 points that would have put them in a tie for #5, this win was crucial to keep them in the race for home playoff ice. The road ahead will be a rough one, though, as they face Colorado College this weekend. Minnesota, Denver, Wisconsin and an unpredicatble Minnesota State wait to finish off the season as well, so hopefully the guys can keep their skates sharp and bring us some valuable points and much needed respect in the conference.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Huskies Sweep Dam Beavers

The Huskies got off to a rocky start to their second half, being swept by the Bulldogs of Minnesota-Duluth. Their first home series gave an opposite result, though. The CHA Bemidji State Beavers made the trip from northern Minnesota, and at the end of the week the Huskies had another 2 wins to add to their season record.

The Beavers came into the weekend 5-1 against WCHA teams, but that record was quickly tainted by some decent play from the Huskies. There were some rocky moments, but Friday gave a very convincing win, and Saturday turned into a convincing win after a period and a half of catching up. Both nights gave glimmers of hope for the absolutely horrid powerplay, with two goals coming with the man-advantage.

The weekend had special meaning for the region as well, as 20-year linesman Joe Romano officiated his final collegiate series. Despite the meager attendance, Section L resounded their support for Romano throughout both nights, and he showed his appreciation, at least to MEg, giving her one of his old official's jerseys.

After a relatively crazy weekend in the WCHA, the Huskies are now tied with UMD for last place, only a point behind a seventh place tie, and four and three points behind fifth and sixth places. Friday also brought the end to the 22-game winning streak of the Minnesota Gophers, as Wisconsin capitalized on a 5-on-3 powerplay to win 2-1.

Next weekend, the Huskies take the long trip to Anchorage to visit the seventh place Seawolves, hoping for the success they found at home. The rest of the season will be a test to the resiliency of the team, as finding 5th is not out of the realm of possibility. Hopefully the guys will kick the play into high gear and give the fans something to cheer about.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Reality Sucks

Another weekend, another debacle for our Huskies. After sweeping the DECC clean the last two seasons, the Huskies couldn't find that magic a third time. I personally can't be a reputable source for detailed information on the games, as I opted to watch my old high school team play, but from what I've read, and the scores I've seen, at least we can be happy that it was a somewhat close week, though it was somewhat close with UMD.

It looks like the Bullpups have gotten their act together, either that or the Huskies are in for a LONG end of the season. This was supposed to be a momentum series going into a tough home weekend, followed by a long trip to Alaska. Oh well, it appears the hockey gods are angry with me, as my high school team got dominated twice, my Oilers lost some really crappily close games, and the Huskies took two hard losses to this year's WCHA bottom feeders. I blame it on the weather. There's no reason for 47 degree days in January, so that's gotta have something to do with it. We need some snow to make things normal, especially if we're going to have a Winter Carnival series this year.

Elsewhere in the WCHA tonight, Wisconsin shut out Denver 4-0, UND took out CC 2-1, and surprise, SCSU won again, 4-1 over the Seawolves. Perhaps our lovely conference is finally getting past its huge fart that was the insane beginning to this season. No reason to get too gloomy this early in the second half, but if we can't take care of the Beavers this upcoming weekend, I'd say Mister Russell's gotta start taking someone out to the woodshed, because if this is the same team that started the year, I want to know where the wins have run off to.

Congratulations to freshman Drew Dobson on his first collegiate goal as well.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Quick Update

The Huskies have made the trip to Duluth tonight to take on the UMD Bulldogs in a pre-semester series. I'll have more for you on that after the game tonight, which should be a good one provided both the Huskies and Bulldogs show up. The last time these two teams met, the played to a 0-0 tie the first night, and despite the Bulldogs' severly sub-par performance, I still believe they have the capacity to give the Huskies some trouble. We'll just have to wait and see how the night turns out after the humiliation for the Huskies at the GLI.

In other news, Chris Conner has added to his list of professional statistics with an assist on a Mathias Tjarnqvist goal for the Dallas Stars last night. In an unbelievably wild game, the Stars were able to pull off a win, only after enduring an overtime and a shootout becasue of
this goal. To see Conner's assist, you can go to the Stars' homepage and go to the link for the Stars vs. Oilers video highlights.