With a certain level of anxiety setting in for both the coaches and the players, there's nothing more Michigan Tech can do than go back to work and see if it can battle its way through this difficult stretch.
The Huskies dropped both games of their series this past weekend with Colorado College. The two losses push Tech's losing streak to eight games.
There were, however, a couple of bright spots. One was the play of junior netminder Josh Robinson.
Robinson stopped 27 of 28 shots over the first two periods and had his team in a position to win on Saturday. But just as they had in the series opener on Friday night, the Tigers exploded in the third to put the game away.
The Huskies were down by just one goal in the latter stages of each of the two games. But CC scored eight third-period goals in the two contests to provide the difference.
"Certainly there's a high level of frustration for everybody, but we've got to focus on the things we did well (in the CC series) and we've got to tighten up the things we need to improve," Tech coach Jamie Russell said. "As a staff we need to keep coaching young players that need to improve every day, and we're seeing progress from our young guys.
"The fact of the matter is we've got a lot of guys out of the lineup and that catches up with us in the third period. Friday and Saturday night were both one-goal games and we were playing with a very short bench, and a team like CC, with their dominant first line, got some opportunities and cashed in, so we need to make sure we're consistent for 60 minutes."
One player whose play has become more consistent is sophomore defenseman Tommy Brown. The diminutive one has been getting more ice time in recent weeks and is learning how to properly use his 5-foot-9 frame.
"He's been rewarded with more ice time because he's played better," Russell said of Brown.
"Tommy's a great kid. He's worked extremely hard and has a great attitude.
"He's small, but he's a competitive kid. He was going out and trying to knock 6-foot-5 guys on their butt and getting himself out of position. The thing we (the coaches) stressed to Tommy was we wanted him to be aggressive, but to use his stick and get good body position. He's been night and day in terms of positioning because of that."
Johnstone adds some juice
Freshman forward Jacob Johnstone had a goal in the 7-3 loss to CC Friday. The goal gave Johnstone at least one point in four straight games.
Johnstone had three goals and five assists over that stretch. His streak came to an end with the loss on Saturday.
"Our line seems to be really meshing well together," Johnstone said of his line with wingers Milos Gordic and Alex MacLeod.
"We need to find a way to bear down in the third period and start getting some points."
K.D. Warvie can be reached at kwarvie@ mininggazette.com.