Noble looks to add to Huskies’ offense
HOUGHTON — Nineteen-year-old Zach Noble is one of the 11 new faces set to join the Michigan Tech Huskies’ hockey team this season. Noble comes in after Tech’s loss of five senior forwards last season.
The Toms River, New Jersey, native racked up 22 goals and 30 assists in two years of North American Hockey League (NAHL) play with the Aberdeen Wings in South Dakota. While he likes to score, he admits that he knows a 200-foot game is what is most important.
“I would say that (I’m) a power forward,” he said. “I like to take the puck to the net. I get to score a touch, but (I’m) a two-way player. I just contribute wherever I can.”
Michigan Tech’s recent success was a big draw for Noble when he was considering where to he wanted to pursue his college career.
“They’ve continuously been doing well and they’ve been known to grow their winning culture, so that was a big part of (why I chose Michigan Tech),” he said. “Then, of course, I heard about the fan base and watched a few videos. It just looks like a great time playing there.”
Noble hopes to bring an offensive presence to the Huskies this season. However, team goals lie in the forefront of Noble’s mind, much like those of his classmates, who hope to build upon what the Huskies have achieved that last few seasons.
“Of course, win the WCHA Championship, get to the (NCAA) Tournament,” said Noble. “Then (I want to) just help my teammates and everyone around me get to our (team) goal.”
His two seasons of NAHL play helped strengthen build Noble into the type of player that Michigan Tech needs him to be. Noble is hoping that his year of growth, which included a 32-point jump in points, will translate well when transitioning to the speed and endurance needed to compete in NCAA Division I hockey.
“I had a good offseason, but just going into the second season with experience from that first helped a lot,” he said. “Just knowing how the speed was going to be, and how everything else is, it really helped having that one year of experience.”
The evolution of a player’s game can come in the most unexpected moments, Noble saw the most growth between his 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Wings, and he thinks such growth will help him be successful this season.
“I think it’s going to help a lot,” said Noble. “It really helped me understand the speed at a higher level ,and the game play and strength (needed). I hope that my experience there carries over into next year in college hockey, and hopefully the two years of juniors prepared me for this year.”
Noble likens his game to that of longtime NHL winger Rick Nash. The 6-foot-4 Nash stand two inches taller than Noble, but is well-respected around the league for his physical presence as well as his ability to play a 200-foot game.
“I kind of look at Rick Nash,” said Noble. “(He’s) a big power forward. (He) uses his body a lot (and) gets to the net, but also has a scoring touch. I kind of base my game around him.”
Noble is a student of the game and he works hard to continue to improve himself every time he hits the ice..
“We all kind of go through the same things,” he said. “We get cut from teams and stuff like that, (but) you’ve just got to keep moving forward no matter what. Then you’ve got to keep having big offseasons, that’ll help you grow as a person.”