Huskies Fall to Bemidji State Beavers, Twice
Tech lost all six points to the BSU Beavers this weekend in what was heralded as the WCHA matchup of the year. The series did not live up to the hype, from Tech's perspective, as the defending MacNaughton Cup champs needed five WCHA points to take the number one position in the conference. Bemidji State now owns a 10 conference point lead over the Huskies, with four WCHA games (12 points) remaining for each team.
Remaining route to the NCAA Tourney
As we approach March, the Huskies are now sitting at #27 in the Pairwise Ranking System. Tech has been steadily in the mid-twenties and therefore an open bid to the NCAA tournament is quickly becoming mathematically improbable.
As it has been for the last few weeks, the best route to the Tourney will be through the WCHA Tournament Championship, the Broodmoor Trophy. Even with the loss on Friday, the Huskies clinched home ice for the WCHA quarterfinals. With one more win in the following two weeks, Tech will clinch home ice for the WCHA semifinal round. However, the ten-point gap to the #1 BSU Beavers will likely mean Tech will need to find a way to win in Bemidji to get to the NCAA tourney.
Redmond In Early Sophomore Slump?
Angus Redmond (Fr., G) has seen his perfect freshman season slip slightly the last few weeks. Since returning to league play after the Christmas break, Redmond has allowed a 3.33 GAA. It is not all doom and gloom however, as Redmond did post a 4-0 shutout against MSU in January. Perhaps it is being relatively untested, as Tech is notoriously outshooting opponents this season, or maybe it is just settling in. Either way, it is unlikely Head Coach Mel Pearson will be looking toward Kero (So., G) or Wintjes (Sr., G) for the remaining four games. Redmond still boasts an impressive season-long 1.72 GAA with a 92.2 SV%.
Huskies Show Greater Discipline, PK Stays Strong
Coming into the weekend, the Huskies knew BSU was going to be strong on special teams. The Beavers boast the #1 PK nationally, and give up some of the fewest penalties in the league. Tech responded in kind, only taking five penalties all weekend and not giving up a Power Play goal at all.
THG Three Stars of the Weekend
- Mitch Reinke (Fr., F) - Reinke had two points (1G, 1A) on Friday. The blue liner leads all MTU freshmen with 15 points on the season. Reinke is on track for a twenty point season.
- Reid Sturos (Sr., F) - Sturos had one assist, led all MTU skaters with 8 SOG, and was one of three Huskies with a positive +/- on the weekend. Sturos has 16 points in his senior season (6G, 10A).
- Husky Discipline - Tech has ten skaters with 30 or more penalty minutes this season (34 GP). Of those, only two were penalized this weekend. Smith (Fr., F), received only two minutes for holding Friday. Neville (Sr., F) received 14 minutes Friday, twelve of which came, admittedly, in a moment of indiscipline. Overall however, the Huskies significantly reduced their time with a man down.
MTU in the Rankings
Tech has dropped to the fourth "Others Receiving Votes" on the USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll with 12 votes. In the Pairwise Ranking System, MTU has dropped slightly to #27. The Huskies are still in 2nd place in the WCHA standings, with 48 conference points and four remaining games. Tech is #2 in the THG WCHA Web Media Poll.
Cover Photo Courtesy: Bob Gilreath (Dec. 3rd, 2016)