Michigan Tech hockey has spent all season making recent years' painful statistics irrelevant, but for once the Huskies may want to reference recent history for a confidence boost heading into this weekend's rematch against Colorado College in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff opener.
Tech is now 0-22 at World Arena in the regular season after getting swept by CC this past weekend, but the Huskies are 2-1 there in the playoffs after winning a series against the Tigers in the 2006-07 season. Tech has actually won six of eight all-time playoff meetings with CC.
Then again, while those stats may be useful for sports columnists and prognosticators, there's really only one record that matters to Tech: 0-0.
"It's a new season and everybody has a clean slate," Tech coach Mel Pearson emphasized.
And that's certainly a nice way to look at it for the Huskies, who were 1-5-2 in their last eight regular season games.
"It's disappointing but not discouraging," Pearson said, specifically referencing the most recent series against CC in which the only goals Tech scored were shorthanded.
"That's a concern obviously, but it's not for lack of generating scoring opportunities," he said. "Saturday that was the best goaltending performance we've seen all year against us."
CC sophomore goaltender Josh Thorimbert saved all 34 shots in the Tigers' 2-0 win. Tech tallied 12 more shots than the hosts and goalie Kevin Genoe played well in Josh Robinson's stead. Robinson was only held out as a precaution from a minor injury sustained during a collision in Friday's 5-2 loss. He'll be back this weekend, but now Tech knows it has two goaltenders it can rely on if needed.
"Even though we didn't win, we gained confidence," Pearson said.
Not only are the Huskies coming off a 34-shot performance, but this weekend they'll also be even more acclimated to Colorado's altitude and the Olympic-sized ice.
Tech is staying in Colorado Springs all week during spring break - not a bad place to spend a week without school - so there won't be any excuses come gametime this weekend.
"I think it helps to stay here all week," Pearson said. "We know our opponent so there won't be a lot of adjustments. ... It really boils down to execution. There's not many secrets for either team. We just have to execute better."
Part of that execution is staying out of the penalty box, which haunted Tech again against CC. It's such a simple concept in theory, but when emotions are high and the calls aren't going your way, it can be challenging. No matter - 15 penalties over two games, like this last weekend, will make it hard to win many games.
Short of avoiding the penalty box and finishing chances, Tech isn't overanalyzing its rematch, instead focusing on keeping things simple and controlling what they can control.
"The main thing is we have to do what we're good at and just play. We really have nothing to lose, but we just have to make sure to lay it all on the line," Pearson said. "At times Friday we were just reacting to the play instead of anticipating, instead of just going out and playing our game. If we play our game, we'll have a real good chance of winning."
Stephen Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/steander.C