Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Great Story on Inside College Hockey

I may not be the biggest fan of Inside College Hockey, but I'll be damned if this story didn't bring tears to my eyes. I don't think it matters if you're a Michigan Tech fan, college hockey fan, or just a human being. This is an amazing story. Jess Myers did a great job on it.



October 30, 2007
Father First, Coach Second
With a young son ailing in Milwaukee hospital, Michigan Tech's Russell juggles family, hockey.

By Jess Myers

In a world in which a Disney-fied sports movie hits the multi-plex seemingly every week, we’ve all seen tales of family anguish, coaching genius, and stirring inspiration “based on a true story.” But every so often, an actual true story comes along that lacks the soundtrack and the popcorn, yet provides a narrative more inspiring than anything a screenwriter could dream up.

Monday, Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell sent out an e-mail detailing the trials of his past 10 days, an ordeal previously known by only a select few close to the Huskies hockey program. The previous week had started like any other hectic in-season stretch for the coach, with the nation’s top-ranked team, North Dakota, set to visit Houghton over the coming weekend. That routine was shattered on Tuesday of last week, however, when the oldest of Russell’s three sons developed an illness and got progressively worse.

Ben Russell, 9, quickly went from being hospitalized in Houghton with a relatively routine viral infection to being flown to a Milwaukee hospital with a life-threatening bacterial infection that was attacking his kidneys. Jamie immediately left the team in the hands of assistants, Pat Mikesch, Chris Tok, and Randy McKay, and went to Milwaukee with wife, Linda, to be with their boy.

Ben’s condition had stabilized enough by last Friday that Russell was able to return to Houghton in time for the Huskies’ game with the top-ranked Sioux. But upon arriving in the locker room, Russell found that the emotions of the week made it nearly impossible to talk. When the team returned to the room after pregame warm-ups, they found their coach had left this message on the chalkboard:

I thought I knew what tough was. This past week, my nine-year-old introduced me to a whole new world of toughness and courage. I REALLY want to win tonight for Ben, who is going to try his best to listen to the game.

Aware of what was happening with Ben in a hospital 300 miles away, the message hit the players hard and let them know a special effort would be required on the ice.

“There was a feeling that ran through the room that we had to find a way to win that game not just for us or for the two points, but for coach and his family,” said goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak. “He’s a pretty intense guy, so when we saw tears in his eyes, there was a really intense feeling in the room that we had to put coach on our back.”

Russell asked his team to deliver 50 hits in the game, and 20 in the first period. In their 3-1 upset of the Sioux, the Huskies recorded 51 hits for the game, 25 of them in the first period.

“I’ve never heard our rink as loud as it was that night,” said Teslak, who had 26 saves in the win.

After it was over, as Huskies captain Jimmy Kerr handed his coach the game puck, to be delivered to Ben’s room in that Milwaukee hospital. Russell was again rendered speechless, able only to say, “Thank you,” before emotions got the best of him. Assistant coaches addressed the media after the game that night as Russell succumbed to the combination of intense emotion and his inability to sleep or eat much for several days.

Later that night, Jamie called Ben and told him of the gift that was on its way to Milwaukee. According to Russell, the puck brought the first smile that they’d seen in several days to Ben’s face.

“It was pretty emotional for everyone,” said Russell Tuesday. “Ben’s been having blood drawn every four hours and he’s in considerable pain, but that moment when he got the game puck produced the biggest smile we’ve seen in a long time.”

Last weekend ended with the Huskies leading the WCHA, and Ben still hospitalized, fighting to get better with his father back at his side in Milwaukee. While a handful of specialists attended to Ben, Jamie planned to join the team in Madison for this weekend’s series with Wisconsin, if not sooner.

His doctors have said that Ben will be on blood-thinning medication for at least six months, which means no hockey for him this winter. According to Jamie, that was the toughest disappointment his son has had to deal with since the illness set in. On the flip side of the tough times has been the outpouring of support the Russell family has received from friends in Houghton-Hancock and throughout the college hockey world.

“The notes and cards and flowers we’ve gotten from folks at the school and the pep band and Mitch’s Misfits (the Tech student section) have really meant a great deal to our family,” Jamie said. “The number of cards and e-mails and calls have really been overwhelming.”

Jess Myers can be reached at


The Tech Hockey Blog wishes all of the best to young Ben Russell and all of the Russell family. And to the Michigan Tech Husky Hockey team:


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our excuse and lessons learned

Well I'm sure by now you know the final score, 6-0, it wasn't even close. The Sioux came out early capitalizing on a 5 on 3 powerplay in the first half of the first period and never looked back. I know I hate when fans make excuses for their teams lost as much as anybody, the refs screwed us over, the ice was bad, we played like crap, well Tech didn't play their best but that's not necessarily why they lost. If they would of played their best they would of had a chance but at the end of the day, which now it seems like it is, North Dakota is not necessarily a better team but they are beyond a shadow of a doubt a more talented team. They are faster, more skilled, more accurate and quite possibly stronger. For the majority of the night today they looked it.

Yet there are still lessons to be learned from for the entire WCHA and the college hockey world.

1) When the Huskies play hard and they control the game, they can play with teams that are truly superior to them as far as talent goes.

2) If they don't play their best the difference in skill levels become obvious (just wait till we start getting the talent).

3) The Oshie is good.

4) Duncan is still not the best player on his line, and he may not be second best.

5) Lammy is still an idiot(any objections? didn't think so).

6) When UND is at their best it's going to be hard to beat them.

7) I'm not sure if any team is looking forward to traveling to Houghton this year.

8) Maybe this is the year Tech brings our cup home (and I promise not to mention that again for awhile)

9) Jordan Baker is crazy did anybody else see him go after Finley, that was awesome. And I get the feeling if they would of went at it Baker had a chance.

Once again to UND congrats on the win, win em all (until we see you in Grand Forks of course).

Beyond that we'll see in the Final Five and hopefully in Denver, this isn't over.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just a Few Things to Say...

It's past 5 AM right now... and yet here I am, still awake. I only have a few quick things to say, then I'm going to bed.

1) To the Michigan Tech Huskies.... thank you so much for all of your effort tonight. The MacInnes was rocking like never before and we beat #1 UND. Such an amazing night. Thank you again.

2) Rob Green, please read your entries before you post them. Half of them don't make sense... your grammar is poor. =P Also, please JUSTIFY your entries, so that they line up on both the right and the left.

3) To the crowd in the MacInnes tonight... you all were AMAZING. I've been saying it all along... the guys NEED your help to win. If we can be like that every night, losing would be ever-so-rare in the Mac. KEEP IT UP!!!

4) Regardless of what happens tonight... I am so grateful for the win on Friday night. Both teams played very hard and very well. I'm happy to get a win against the #1 team in the nation. But... let's do it again, Tech. =)

5) I've got my plane tickets to Denver for the Frozen Four this season. I hope I can cheer for MY team there, instead of UND.

That's pretty much all I got for now. It's games like this one that make me the hockey addict I am. May I witness many more of them in my last year.


Friday, October 26, 2007

The more things change

So the final score looks awfully familiar so I'll just say great game, I really wish I could of made it up because watching it was just a great feeling. Two teams that played sixty minutes of hard fought evenly matched hockey anchored by strong defense and excellent goaltending, what's not to like about that.

This score is the exact same as I witness the Huskies walk away in the first game of the last series between these two teams, so instead of writing a recap of this game instead I turn the floor over to Brad Schlossman with the Michigan Tech game one victory of North Dakota from December 16, 2006, published in the Grand Fork Herald December 17, 2006. I'm sure very few of the Huskies have forgotten and odds very few of the Sioux either.


Nothing is coming easy for UND this season, not even the perennial doormats of the league.

The Sioux lost for the sixth time in seven games Friday, a 3-1 decision to Michigan Tech in front of a silent, stunned Ralph Engelstad Arena crowd of 10,321.

The game mirrored UND's most recent seven-game stretch, which began in mid-November with a pair of losses to typical bottom-feeder Alaska Anchorage.

The Sioux gave up opportunities Friday in the first, goals in the second and didn't generate enough offense until it was far too late in the third. The loss dropped UND to 7-9-1 overall and 5-7-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Last hurrah at home

UND's six-game homestand comes to an end at 7:07 tonight, when it finishes a two-game series against Michigan Tech - a team that snapped several dubious droughts against the Sioux on Friday.

The Huskies won a game for the first time in more than a month, and they broke an 0-12 stretch against the Sioux, which dates back to a time when no current Husky players were in college.

And if it weren't for Brad Miller's tally with 1:27 left in the game, UND would have been shut out by Michigan Tech for the first time since Rube Bjorkman was coaching in 1977.

“We have to stay very mentally tough,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “We have a job to do. We have to do that job. Things don't always go right. Things don't always come easy. Certainly things aren't coming easy right now for us.”

That includes games at home, where the Sioux are 2-6-1 in the last nine games. On the current homestand, UND is 1-4.

Two tallies in a row

After a scoreless 35-plus minutes, Michigan Tech popped a pair of goals past Philippe Lamoureux before the end of the second period to spark the victory.

Sophomore Alex Lord scored for the first time in his career (37 games) from the inside of the left circle at 15:48 and Peter Rouleau helped the Huskies break a 5-for-92 drought on the power play at 19:31.

Ryan Bunger (two points) added a goal at 13:08 of the third period to help put the game away.

“We were flat in the first period,” Sioux captain Chris Porter said. “We had a lot of turnovers, and that gave them a lot of jump. When we're down, we always play good. But we've got to come out and get a lead early. We're never playing with a lead.”

Tough cookie to crack

The Sioux generated several chances early in the game, but Michigan Tech goaltender Rob Nolan was able to stop all of them. Nolan, who was winless in 13 games last season, totaled 29 saves.

He helped his team kill all six Sioux power plays.

The Huskies, who improved to 7-8-2 overall and 4-7-2 in the WCHA, have been strong penalty killers all season. They came into the weekend ranked No. 2 in the conference in penalty killing with an 87.5 percentage. Nolan made nine stops while the Huskies were skating a man down.

Keeping it close

On the other end, Lamoureux finished with 24 saves. He helped keep the game scoreless through the first period, turning away a pair of Husky breakaway chances.

In the second, the game turned physical.

UND's Darcy Zajac, Andrew Kozek and Joe Finley all laid out Michigan Tech players with big hits. Finley and defenseman Kyle Radke were both ready to drop the gloves in the final half of the game, but referees intervened.

“I thought our effort was very good,” Hakstol said. “When it comes to execution, offensively, we're struggling right now. I don't think that's putting any pressure. That's just saying how it is. We're struggling to finish plays. We had some plays that were there to be finished, but we didn't finish on them.”

Notes: The Sioux played without sophomore forward Jonathan Toews, who is participating in the World Junior Championship selection camp for Team Canada. Toews was named assistant captain Friday. . . . The Sioux moved Chay Genoway from defenseman to forward to fill the void. Genoway played on the blue line last week.

The game mirrored UND's most recent seven-game stretch, which began in mid-November with a pair of losses to typical bottom-feeder Alaska Anchorage.

An official apology from The Darkness

Yesterday I wrote a post that some people apparently took issue with. I got some feed back and a couple Sioux fans who decided to take a few shots back, and honestly I'm fine with that. Yet some responded that they felt like the image I portrayed was unprofessional and less then classy, again it was said respectfully and I respect your opinion, think you for reading. But then I got some comments that said that I went to far, apparently calling a man who enjoys sharing his bed with other men and puppies a pansy is just mean or something. Also calling a guy you've seen do some of the stupidest things you ever seen in a hockey game an idiot is also uncalled for, even though I don't actually remember anybody objecting to that part. And I seriously doubt that anybody will object to my comment that Duncan wasn't the best player on his line last year, and it was debatable rather or not he was second best player on his line.

For everybody who is just trying to take a good natured shot back at Tech so be it, but to anybody who was truly offended by any of the comment in my last post I would just like that I am sorry that you take something that is posted on an internet blog that seriously, I am sorry that you can't see the humor in the post I made for a series that I am obviously very excited for (you didn't see a post like this for any of the other series did you) I am sorry that you don't realize that your goalie is in fact an idiot and your star player may be a little lite in the brezzers, all in all I am just sorry for you.

So in closing to all those that feel offended by anything I write in this blog I would just like to say from the bottom of my heart, suck it up pansy-boy this isn't basketball.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rob Green's Top 10 (The Pink and Green edition)

Ladies and gentlemen I would like to present to you the top ten reasons the Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota is in for a long weekend against the Huskies of Michigan Tech.

#10 Two words, Skating Treadmill

We might as well start with the obvious. I know you're probably sick of hearing it by now just like we're sick of reminding you, but it's true, we have a skating treadmill and the Hostile and Abusive foes from the west don't. You can't argue with results, really what's the Sioux record against Tech since this marvelous investment. Prepare to be skated off the ice.

#9 The Darkness will be in the building

That's right ladies and gentlemen, for all of you have not heard, The Darkness will grace the JMSIA with his presence this weekend. The Huskies record at home with The Darkness in the building is simply remarkable, (atleast it is if you only look at last year). In fact the Huskies record with The Darkness in the building is pretty good no matter where they are playing. There's no way those Notre Dame wanna bes can compete with that type of mojo.

#8 MEg will be in a toga

Honestly I just hope that the home team isn't to distracted. We all know that The Oshie can't resist the sight of half naked women under five feet tall, oops sorry that's half naked men over six feet tall. Well maybe I'll wear my toga too, that way we'll have all of our bases covered.

#7 Their ears will be bleeding thanks to the Second Best Feeling in the world.

I'm not sure how many of you have actually had the "pleasure" to experience the pep band in person, but they are truly special. Trust me when I tell you that hearing them at home, playing for their own team at full volume is very interesting. The home team is use to it, but everybody else, not so much.

#6 Mitch's Misfits

You want a home field advantage well there it is. You can say a lot of things about a lot of fans in a lot of places, but if you want some of the loudest, most inappropriate, not afraid to say anything fans in the WCHA you have to come to the JMSIA. I promise you a couple of the Misfits take more joy in figuring out new ways to offend the opposing team then they do in there own homework. And with The Darkness there, I don't see things getting much better.

#5 Lammy is an idiot

I believe this speaks for it self. I'm happy to see that Lammy started the year good, and I hoping after the thrashing he takes in Houghton, he'll finish the year well but the boy is still an idiot. I have never seen one goalie do so many things that just bluntly makes you stop and ask what was his momma drinking when she was pregnant with him, lead paint. As soon as the goals start rolling for Tech I wouldn't be surprised to see a goalie change by the end of the weekend.

#4 Duncan is going to be slowed down by the weight of his Hobey Baker

I'm not even going to mention that he didn't deserve it, or that Eric Ehn probably should of won it or even that TJ Hensick might as well of just bent over a chair bit down on something and closed his eyes. I'm not going to say that, but I will say that last here he wasn't even the most talented player on his own line, probably not even the second most talented. I do have good news for Duncan, this year he might just be the second most talented player on his line.

#3 The Oshie is a pansy

Yeah I said it, The Oshie is a pansy, let's be honest with ourselves the only reason he's still in North Dakota is because he enjoys the view in the locker room and he's not sure if the view will be quite as good when get to the pros. The Oshie isn't here to win, he's here to prove he was better then his line mates from last year. One good hit from Baker and the Oshie will have to big of a crush on him to put forth any type of an effort.

#2 The Sioux are cursed by the ghost of Sitting Bull

It's kind of hard to focus on hockey when you have the ghost of one the greatest Native American warriors ever patrolling your bench. You may not see him but I assure you pink bunch of girly men that he's there and he's not happy.

#1The Dirty factor

And the number one reason North Dakota is in for a long weekend, is that Dirty will be there to cheer for them. In all the time I've known Dirty every time he's been in a building with the Huskies the team he wanted to win didn't. The Huskies must really hate that boy because even when they're the team that he's routing for in the stands, they just can't stand to make him happy. Let's hope that trend continues.

And ladies and gentlemen is scientific proof which can lead us to one conclusion.
Huskies sweep(again).
and dirty goes home crying(again).

Monday, October 22, 2007


So Michigan Tech is making an appearance on a few well-known college hockey polls... Poll

October 22, 2007

No. Team (First-place votes)
Last Poll
1. North Dakota (42)
2. Miami (7)
3. Michigan
4. Colorado College
5. Boston College
6. Denver
7. New Hampshire (1)
8. Michigan State
9. Clarkson
10. Minnesota
11. Wisconsin
12. Notre Dame
13. Maine
14. Michigan Tech
15. St. Lawrence
16. Massachusetts
17. Minnesota Duluth
18. Cornell
19. Ohio State
20. Alaska Anchorage

Also receiving votes: Air Force 86, Nebraska-Omaha 59, Boston University 47, St. Cloud State 44, Quinnipiac 33, Vermont 33, Union 24, Western Michigan 24, Dartmouth 21, Rensselaer 13, Merrimack 9, Harvard 7, Niagara 6, Colgate 4, Northeastern 3, Holy Cross 2.


USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll

October 22, 2007

No. Team (First-place votes)
Last Poll
1. North Dakota (24)
2. Miami (9)
3. Michigan
4. Colorado College
5. Boston College
6. New Hampshire (1)
7. Denver
8. Clarkson
9. Michigan State
10. Minnesota
11. Wisconsin
12. Notre Dame
13. Maine
14. Ohio State
15. Michigan Tech

Also receiving votes: Minnesota Duluth 33, St. Lawrence 27, Massachusetts 20, Alaska Anchorage 16, Cornell 16, Air Force 9, Boston University 3, Merrimack 2, Niagara 2, Nebraska-Omaha 2, Union 1.


Michigan Tech also made #17 on the INCH Power Rankings Poll, but I don't like INCH, so I'm not going to post that poll.

They made a pretty nice jump on the polls. If they want to stay up there longer than a week, they're going to have to do something really cool against North Dakota this weekend. Coming out like they did against NMU won't cut it either. I'm still confused as to what happened there. That game will be a thorn in my side all season long, I'm sure.

It's also nice to see UAA on the Poll. I don't know if that's happened since I've been a college hockey fan. The WCHA as a whole has a nice representation in the polls. That always makes me happy to see. This weekend in college hockey should prove to be another interesting one.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Break out the Brooms

As a Michigan Tech fan, I just want to say how pleased I am with the way my team played tonight. I hope they can carry that type of play into next weekend, as #1 North Dakota will be coming to town.

So, here are some highlights from the game played earlier this evening in the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena:
  • Freshmen Huskies Jordan Baker and Eric Kattelus scored their first goals in the Huskies jerseys
  • Red Hot Robby Nolan had a .972 save percentage
  • Malcom Gwilliam had FIVE freakin' points (2-3--5)
  • Jimmy Kerr was injured... Still waiting to hear more on that... :(
  • Pete Rouleau had three points on the night (1-2--3)
  • Geoff Kinrade had three points on the night (0-3--3)
  • Bennett Royer got his first collegiate point, with an assist on one of Malcom's goals
  • ELEVEN different Huskies got points
  • We completed the SWEEP!
With UMD sweeping SCSU and CC sweeping UMN, there is currently a 3-way tie for first place in the WCHA. If the Huskies want to stay up there, they will need to continue playing great hockey next weekend.

I'm not sure what else to say. Tech wins 2-0 and 7-1 this weekend. See you next weekend, Siouxzies.

Kings for a Day (or at least a couple minutes)

Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourself for the next couple of words may lead you fall from your chairs with a sudden rush of glee or surprise or disappointment depending on what team you like to throw your alliances behind. Are you ready? Then here we go.

Michigan Tech is tied for first place in the WCHA with Minnesota Duluth and Colorado College.

Who said it couldn't be done; who said that these three teams, all picked to finish in the bottom half of the WCHA by the coaches couldn't do big things this year? Believe it or not first place, and sure you may argue that it's after one game, but Duluth beat St. Cloud (it's not NCAA time yet so St. Cloud can actually win games), and CC beat Minnesota, so those wins definitely mean something. Tech beat a Minnesota State team that wasn't actually expected to do much but hey it was a very impressive shut out victory for Michael-Lee Teslak, and most importantly the team looked good and played hard for three periods.

Could the college hockey season prove to be as exciting as exciting as the college football season with big historical upsets happening week after week, or am I just making too much out of the first day of WCHA inter conference games. Well today's a new day which promised to deliver new results, and no matter what those results are I promise you this: don't expect to understand them until it's over.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

TGIHS (Thank God It's Hockey Season)

Before I go into this article there's just one thing I would like to say to of you still fortunate enough to still be in school. Working for a living sucks. I know a lot of you may not be surprised by this statement but I would just like state this one more time, it really sucks. I for one actually enjoy what I do, I like the people I work with and yet this still sucks. I was so use to sleeping till noon waking up for lunch maybe catching a class or two and then going to take a nap. Now it's up by 6:30 everyday, and then working for 8 plus hours, this really sucks.

Now to hockey.


Ladies and gentlemen, the long wait is finally over and hockey season is finally upon us. Last weekend marked the first Superior Showcase, a cross conference battle between the three D-I college hockey teams in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Minnesota Duluth who I guess is the next closest thing. Despite all the preseason hype Michigan Tech only managed to escape with two points on the weekend losing on the opening night to Northern Michigan and beating Lake Superior State on a nationally televised Sunday night game.

I know some journalist like to focus on the good things that there team does. For instance, we scored four powerplay goals on the weekend, which is almost half the total scored on the powerplay all of last season; the four freshmen currently on our roster didn't seem completely over matched and at times actually played inspired hockey; and in a whole the team seems to have stepped their offensive efforts at a whole. With that being said I would just like to point out that I am a journalist so let's get to my observations from the weekend.

What happened to the team that last year played tough disciplined defense and rarely ever gave up an easy goal. That definitely was not the team that I saw this weekend, not only did we give up as many goals as we gave up through the first two weekends last season, must of the goals seemed to be the clear result of Huskies making mistakes--this isn't even counting a goal scored on Nolan from the opposite blueline which did in fact just look like an unfortunate bounce.

Maybe I'm just being overly critical, but all in all on the weekend the team played sub-par hockey and was lucky to savage any points on the weekend. If we expect to reach all those lofty goals we've been setting we're going to have to play better. There's no doubt in my mind there is better hockey in these players than we saw over the weekend and if we don't see it, it's going to be a long here starting in two weeks when North Dakota comes in town; and I'm sure they're still not over what happened in Grand Forks last year. If they are, they won't be for long because I'm sure the Misfits will take every opportunity to remind them.

In conclusion, to any member of the Huskies hockey team that happens to read this, keep up the good work on offense, and let's start playing good disciplined defense again.