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Huskies Hockey: Tech visits LSSU

(Photo Illustration by Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette; David Archambeau/Photo for The Daily Mining Gazette)

Michigan Tech has already experienced some of the highs and lows that come during a nearly 40-game season.

Despite the Huskies (3-6, 1-5 WCHA) losing the last three in a row, six of their past seven games, and being outscored 16-6 in those losses, they seemed to turn a corner last weekend.

Tech is coming off a sweep by No. 1 Minnesota State. The Huskies nearly matched the Mavericks shot for shot, hinting that their offense may be coming to life.

It couldn’t come at a better time, as Michigan Tech visits Lake Superior State (4-8, 2-2) this weekend. Puck drop is 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

Lake Superior State was swept by Bemidji State last weekend.

The Huskies dropped the Friday game to the Mavericks 3-0 as Dryden McKay earned a 31-save shutout. He was later named WCHA Goalie of the Week after holding the Huskies to one goal in a 2-1 win Saturday.

The Mavericks used the sweep to vault from No. 3 to No. 1 in the country in this week’s NCAA Division I college hockey poll.

But the Huskies did an even better job sustaining offensive pressure overall last weekend, something they have had little success with overall prior to that series. They’re still ninth out of 10 WCHA teams in shots on goal (210 in nine games), while Minnesota State leads with 325 shots in 10 games, nearly 10 shots per game more than the Huskies. Tech is eighth out of 10 WCHA teams in offense. MTU has 19 goals in nine games. Northern Michigan, by comparison, has a league-leading 39 goals in 10 games.

So far, 79 percent of Tech’s offense has come in the first two periods, with just three third period goals and an overtime goal.

Lake Superior State has

slightly better team offense among WCHA teams than Michigan Tech. The Lakers are fifth in team offense (34 goals in 12 games). They are also sixth in the conference in shots on goal (325 shots, or 27.1 shots per game).

Junior forward Hampus Eriksson leads the Lakers’ scorers with two goals and 10 assists. Senior forward Max Humitz has six goals and five assists, while sophomore forward Ashton Calder has four goals and seven assists. Eriksson is third in WCHA in overall scoring. Humitz and Calder are tied for fourth with Minnesota State’s Marc Michaelis. Not a single Tech player remains in the league’s top 24 overall scoring leaders.

But Tech’s defense is what’s stood out. Sophomore Colin Swoyer is tied for 12th in overall league scoring among defensemen with five assists. Junior Seamus Donohue is 14th with a goal and three assists.

Freshman Blake Pietila got his first start Saturday and stopped 18 of 20 shots. He relieved Robbie Beydoun in the third period of Friday’s game after Beydoun gave up his third goal.

Lake Superior State senior Collin Saccoman is second with six goals and three assists. He has more goals than Tech’s co-leaders, Alec Broetzman and Tommy Parrottino, who have four goals apiece.

The Huskies hold a 46-24-7 all-time record against the Lakers, but are 15-12-5 at Sault Ste. Marie.

Michigan Tech’s next home game is the front end of a home and home series against Northern Michigan next week. The Huskies host the Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 22 and then travel to Marquette on Nov. 23.

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