Thursday, August 6, 2009

09/10 WCHA Previews: Michigan Tech

School: Michigan Tech
Mascot: Huskies
National Championships: 3 (‘62, ‘65 & ‘75)
Head Coach: Jamie Russell, 61-137-32, 7th season

Last Season: 2-19-7, Last Place WCHA; 6-25-7 Overall

Predicted 09/10 WCHA Finish: Last

Key Departures:
D Geoff Kinrade, 3-13-16*
F Alex Gagne, 5-8-13
F Malcolm Gwilliam, 2-5-7
G Rob "red light" Nolan, 2-17-5, 3.05 GAA, .894 save %
*All stats listed from 08/09

Key Returnees: (72.5% of scoring returns)
F Jordan Baker (Jr), 16-11-27
F Brett Olson (So), 10-13-23
D Drew Dobson (Sr), 5-14-19
D Deron Cousens (Jr), 5-11-16
F Alex MacLeod (So), 6-4-10

Top Sieve:
Josh Robinson (So), 4-8-2, 3.09 GAA, 0.889 save %

Key Additions:
F Milos Gordic (BCHL), 42-34-76
F Evan Witt (BCHL), 17-44-61
D Steven Seigo (AJHL), 14-25-39
D Tommy Brown (SJHL), 3-26-29

Freshman Scouting Report: I don’t know who any of these players are, though both Witt (16th) and Gordic (7th) were in the top 20 in scoring in the BCHL, though not in the same class as 1st Star Zengerle. Gordic also tied for the league lead in goals scored, so maybe there is hope for offense in Houghton. Both Seigo and Brown played on Team Canada West in the Jr A Challenge won by the United States and captained by Craig Smith. A side note: the season preview press release by Tech has the wrong 08/09 stats for their freshman, nice work!

When Wisconsin Beats MTU: KC 12/4 & 12/5, @MTU 2/26 & 2/27

08/09 Recap: Last season was one to forget in Houghton as the Huskies struggled most of the season. There were not many bright spots, though I’m sure the fans were happy to see them take the season series against N. Michigan, and they gave North Dakota some trouble around New Year’s. About the only bright spot offensively was Superior, WI native Brett Olson who was second on the team in scoring as a frosh. Wisconsin’s sweep of Tech in November came at a critical time which built momentum to dig out of the 0-6-1 start. Tech was never in contention for anything other than last place.

Team’s Biggest Strength(es): They come to play every night, and if another WCHA foe takes a night off against Tech they might hand them a precious W for their laziness. Their defense is always solid as well, going hand in hand w/ the good effort every night of the season.

Team’s Biggest Weakness(es): Offense, plain and simple.

09/10 Thoughts: This season likely won’t be much better for Tech, while they return a good amount of their scoring from last season, they didn’t really do much lighting of the lamp to begin w/ to warrant excitement. It was only a few seasons back when Tech made it to the Final Five after going to CC in the first round and things were looking up, but the cellar is staring them in the face again. Tech was planning on upgrading their offense w/ USHL star and WI native Jake Hauswirth, but instead he decided to sign a pro contract w/ the Washington Capitals. The team is young, there is hope for the future, but the Huskies need to find some more offense and a trusty goalie. Josh Robinson is a decent tender, but nothing like Teslek was a few seasons back.

I find it hard to dislike Tech (except when they play the Badgers) and Jamie Russell sounds like a stand up guy. Maybe global warming will shorten the winter in Houghton to 44 weeks from 50 weeks and make it more appealing to recruits.