NOTE: This is F2B&G, not Bethlyn. I do not want to read any comments addressing me as Bethlyn or MEg. I'm male, thank you very much. :p
After watching BU win the national title in OT, the 2008-2009 college hockey season is now officially over. Thus, I feel like making a post on the state of Tech hockey. It's not like I have anything better to do, since no one has anything planned this weekend and my roommate is currently boning his fiance in some Houghton hotel room (just kidding Mike!), so I have the apartment and a bottle of decent gin to myself.
I'm not going to dwell too much on the season, because everything that happened has already been whined about. Injuries and youth plagued us all the way to the basement, but not without a few bright spots. We did sweep our bitter archrivals eNeMa U during our December showdown, salvaged third place at the GLI in a 2-1 win over the Fighting Sue, beat the Goofers in a 6-5 OT firehouse during our final regular season series, and pulled out a 3-2 road victory over Soo Tech to avoid Superior Showcase embarassment (which also happened to be the first road win I've been in attendance for). I thoroughly savored all of those, because I knew our victories would be few and far between this year.
That said, why should I be excited about Husky hockey next season? I'm graduating and won't be anywhere near campus, so I will not get to see most of the games in person. We finished tenth this year, scoring a measly 62 goals. For comparison UAA, the ninth place team, managed 95 goals, and eighth place Mankato managed 117. UAA finished with 23 conference points, 12 more than Tech's 11. *sigh*
Why? Well, let's look on the bright side. No one left early to join the pros (duh), which means we only lost our eight seniors. Some things will be missed from that class, such as Schwarz's steady defense, Kinrade's point shot, Angelow's faceoff skills, and Kitti's workhorse attitude. However, we don't lose anyone capable of scoring a lot of goals. We retain our top two scorers, junior-to-be Jordan Baker (16-11-27) and sophomore-to-be Brett Olson (10-13-23), who were easily the most offensively skilled duo on the team. Drew Dobson (5-14-19) will be back for his senior year, whether he stays at forward because of his results up there, or goes back to defense because of his veteran presence on a defensive corps that will be a tad thin, IMHO.
Junior-to-be Deron Cousens (5-11-16) was the unsung hero of the second half, finally coming into his own as an offensive defeseman during the later part of his sophomore campaign. Super duper senior Malcolm Gwilliam should be back for a sixth year of eligibility, following a successful medical redshirt of his fifth year after a bizzare mini-stroke incident (his true sophomore season was also spent recovering from an injury). He will pursue an MBA and potentially wear the C.
Other players to keep an eye on include junior-to-be Bennett Royer, who is basically Alex Lord or Derek Kitti with just as much energy, but more offensive skill. A great third or fourth line surprise for opponents. There is also Peter Rohn, who had the game-winner against eNeMa U in a 1-0 nailbiter back in December. The very small forward, who is probably about 5'4" and maybe 150 lbs, has some surprising speed and is tenacious on faceoffs. Once he adds some more muscle, he will be another trick up Jamie Russell's sleeve.
I also like Alex MacLeod, who finished the year 6-4-10, with all six of his goals coming on the powerplay. The question is whether or not the 6'0", 210 lb sophomore-to-be will learn how to take fewer penalties, or whether he will be the next Jimmy Kerr. Time will tell, I suppose.
On the goaltending front, sophomore-to-be Josh Robinson had four of Tech's six wins this past season. Even if his stats look shaky, let's keep in mind he played in front of an equally shaky team this year. He was the first MTU goalie to blank NMU in the history of the rivalry, allowing just one goal on 37 shots in the Friday game that weekend, and earning a 20-save shutout over the Mildcats on Saturday to take the season series for Tech, two games to one. While I don't expect him to dominate right away, he should be a good goalie for us by the end of the season.
The Techies most primed for a breakout seasons are Royer and Eric Kattelus; book it.
As for recruits, the crown jewel in the 09-10 class is probably Jake Hauswirth, who finished 28-24-52 and +16 for the Omaha Lancers in the regular season of the USHL. The Capitals are somewhat excited about him as a free agent prospect, and he's already got great size at 6'5", 216. I expect him to be next season's Brett Olson, but perhaps with more goals instead of assists.
Other notable recruits include Steven Seigo, a 6'0", 180 lb. offensive defenseman from Edenwold, SK who spent two seasons with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL, finishing with a 14-25-39 line and 8 PPG this season in 47 games (registering only 19 PIMs). As previously reported on this blog, he spent last summer practicing with an Austrian Elite League team with the NC$$'s permission (though he was not allowed to participate scrimmages), and it is felt that the experience was very good for him.
Milos Goric has averaged over a point per game in the BCHL for the last two seasons. He put together a 46-35-81 line this year, which works out to 1.4 PPG.
Recruit Tommy Brown was the only SJHL defenseman chosen to represent Canada West in the WJAC for two years in a row. In that tournament, he has played with BCHL goalie recruit Kevin Genoe (thanks to Prince George head coach and former Techie Ed Dempsey, and the success of former Spruce King Michael Lee Teslak for selling him on MTU).
The middle of the WCHA (spots 3-8) should naturally be a meatgrinder again. Based on how things are looking, I don't think an 8th place finish and a chance for a WCHA first round upset are unreasonable expectations for the 09-10 team, barring another injury riddled season.
With that, there's not much else for me to do except root for the Red Wings and wait for October.